Law requires swift treatment for mentally ill jail inmates

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CHICAGO (AP) - Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is applauding a new law that shortens delays for transferring mentally ill jail inmates to needed treatment.

Backlogs have left those who have court-ordered mental health treatment waiting in jail. Legislation sponsored by Chicago Democratic state Rep. Art Turner and signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner sets deadlines for exchanging information between law enforcement agencies and the Illinois Department of Human Services.

The law requires court orders to be transmitted from county offices to DHS within five days. There is no deadline currently.

Dart said Tuesday that there are 20 inmates in Cook County Jail awaiting treatment. One case involves a 62-year-old woman facing a criminal trespass charge who has waited 117 days since her order for treatment.