While the Cook County Board is attempting to cut the budget of the Juvenile Detention Center and to keep youth out of detention, Chicago’s City Council recently announced massive cuts to the budget of the City’s public mental health clinics. The city plans to close 6 of the 12 mental health centers by April of this year. Sheriff Tom Dart tells the Chicago News Cooperative, here, that the system “is so screwed up that I’ve become the largest mental health provider in the state of Illinois.”
Dart argues that closing mental health centers this year will only leave more people without options for care, which will lead to an increase in crime and arrests.
Dart is just saying what those of us who work in jails and prisons have always known— when we provide for the most vulnerable citizen’s basic needs, crime goes down.