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Cook County Jail

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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
8:57pm
Tue Oct 25, 2016

Local Advocates Push For Bail Reform As Cook County Faces Class-Action Lawsuit

With Cook County facing a lawsuit challenging its bail system, local community groups and attorneys gathered Tuesday to "demand alternatives to monetary bond" to help poor detainees.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
8:43pm
Fri Jun 26, 2015

Rauner's Budget Veto Draws Ire Of Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Service Providers

Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a $36.3 billion budget bill may force the state into a government shutdown, which doesn't sit well with State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester), chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC).

"We cannot stand back and allow this to happen," said Lightford, who fought back tears, after learning of the veto. "I don't give a damn how much money he has. He can sit up in his mansion and not be affected, but all of us will feel the pinch. I want to fight. I need all of you all to fight with us. We have to fight this governor."

"Don't confuse my tears as a sign of weakness. I am mad as hell," Lightford added. She made the statements at an ILBC rally against spending cuts proposed under Rauner's Turnaround Agenda. The governor's plan calls for a set of reforms on workers compensation, term limits and a property tax freeze, among other things.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:05am
Sat May 30, 2015

'Bare-Bones' Illinois Mental Health System Can't Afford Further Cuts, Advocates Say

In a new report, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Chicago urges against cuts to public mental health services in Illinois, which are already stretched thin and could be dealt a significant blow if Gov. Bruce Rauner gets his way on the budget. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:26pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Mental Health Advocates Rally Against Rauner's Proposed Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Carrying signs reading, "Mental wellness is a human right," a few hundred Illinoisans took to the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon to rally against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to mental health services and other crucial programs.

At the event, spearheaded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Chicago, speaker after speaker denounced Rauner's 2016 budget plan, which seeks to slash funding for the mental health division of the Illinois Department of Human Services by 15 percent. That works out to be a proposed cut of $82 million.

Cash-strapped Illinois faces a $6 billion budget deficit in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning July 1. To plug that hole, Rauner wants to significantly cut funding from a range of budgetary items, including $1.5 billion from Medicaid.

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
5:47pm
Tue Mar 24, 2015

Chicago West Side Residents Discuss Potential Impact Of Rauner's Budget

State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) called Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget a "doomsday situation" that is compounded by a $1.6 billion shortfall from former Gov. Pat Quinn's underfunded FY2015 budget.

In February, Rauner proposed sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program, higher education, mass transit and government pensions to address the state's financial woes. The cuts aimed to combat a $6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016, which begins in July 1, and the state's $111 billion pension crisis. But critics of Rauner's budget plan say those cuts adversely affect the poor and middle class families.

"It's gonna be tough," said Turner, who held a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the impact Rauner's proposed cuts could have on the state. More than 30 residents attended the meeting held at Mt. Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
11:20am
Thu Jan 22, 2015

Advocates Urge Rauner, Illinois Legislature To Prioritize Mental Health Funding

As the Democrat-controlled Illinois legislature and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner gear up to tackle the state's fiscal problems, including a multi-billion budget deficit, mental health advocates are warning against further cuts to community-based services.

"Community mental health services have been cut to the core, and we're seeing a lot of the fallout," said Heather O'Donnell, vice president of public policy and advocacy for Chicago-based Thresholds, a recovery service provider for people with mental illness in Illinois.

Among other issues, O'Donnell noted that the Cook County Jail has about 2,000 inmates with some form of mental illness. And 22,000 people with mental illness in the state are living in nursing homes even though they "don't need that level of care." These people, she explained, would likely be homeless if they were not living in such facilities due to the lack of housing and other supports for them to live independently.

"We just need to make sure that we preserve every dollar, because we don't have anything else in the community mental health system that we can cut without costing the state far more than the cuts," O'Donnell stressed.

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