Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has created the first Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Mental Health Advisory Board.
The Advisory Board will help the State’s Attorney’s Office develop strategies around the intersections and relationships between mental health, substance abuse and the criminal justice system.
“I am proud of the group of mental health experts and criminal justice officials we have brought together who will work to deconstruct some of the long-standing narratives that are currently perpetuating cycles of incarceration,” Foxx said. “We will also continue to strive to improve the way our office prioritizes prosecution and diversion strategies when it comes to issues of mental health and addiction.”
The board is chaired by Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, former executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections, a clinical psychologist and a Leader in Residence at Chicago Beyond.
“Today we are faced with the critical reality that through failed policy and practice our systems have criminalized people who are sick,” Tapia said. “It is now the responsibility of all the players in the justice system to work diligently and collaboratively to correct this crisis. Together with the leadership of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the expertise of the behavioral health community, and the men and women with lived experience of mental illness, substance abuse, and trauma, we can re-envision a healthy and just system for all.”
Foxx said the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office is committed to re-envisioning its policies for individuals living with mental illness and looks forward to continuing meaningful work with the help of the Advisory Board.
Joining Tapia on the Mental Health Advisory Board are:
- Laura Brookes with Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities
- Chris Carroll with Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
- Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer
- Matthew Davison, an attorney with the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission
- Alexander Heaton with the University of Chicago Urban Labs
- Mark Ishaug with Thresholds
- Alexa James of the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Anna LauBach with the McCormick Foundation
- Pam Rodriguez with TASC
- Vikki Rompala of Metropolitan Family Services
- Rashad Saafir with the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center,
- Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sharon Sullivan
- Cook County Circuit Court Judge Maureen Ward Kirby
- Sharronne Ward with Grand Prairie Services Integrated Health