CHICAGO (CBS) — Green balloons were released into the air on Friday as the Cook County Sheriff’s Office marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Month with a short rally across from Cook County Jail.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has called the jail the largest mental health hospital in the country.
“How screwed up is that that the largest mental health hospital is a jail? We, as a society, we’re better than that,” he said.
The sheriff said state legislators should do their jobs, and provide for the mentally ill.
“We have to have a sufficient number of community clinics. They’re outrageously cheap when you compare to how much it costs us here, so this isn’t like a break-the-bank type of thing. It’s just a question of them doing their jobs,” said Dart, a former state lawmaker himself.