Mentally Ill Jail Inmate Crawls Into Ceiling Vent

CHICAGO (CBS) — A mentally ill man who was brought to Cook County Jail for processing on Friday after he was arrested climbed into a vent in the ceiling.

Officials in the area where inmates are held right after being dropped off at the facility noticed a man climbing up in the ceiling Friday morning.

“He somehow was able to get up and into the vent, and our staff immediately recognized that, and were able to get him … coax him down,” said Cara Smith, executive director of the jail.

Smith said the man suffers serious mental illness, and this just highlighted some of the problems jail officers handle every day.

“We often say that we are the only step along the process here in the county that has no discretion. We have to take whoever’s dropped off to us,” she said.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has been outspoken about the problem, calling the jail the largest mental health institute in the nation.

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