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Sheriff names psychologist to head Cook County Jail

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CHICAGO -- Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has picked a clinical psychologist to serve as head of the Cook County Jail.

Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia will become executive director of the jail later this month.

Tapia joined the sheriff's office in 2013 and has been overseeing mental health strategy.

Dart says 25%-35% of the inmates suffer from mental illness and the percentage has grown in recent years as the number of mental health facilities has fallen.

Tapia says most of the mentally ill inmates in the jail are charged with low-level, non-violent offenses, and some get into jail just to receive treatment.

The Cook County Jail will become the largest jail in the nation to be run by a clinical psychologist.

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