On June 13, 2013, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle unveiled an $86 million medical facility at the Cook County Department of Corrections that will provide inmates at the jail access to critical health care services.
The Residential Treatment Unit (RTU) will provide treatment for substance abuse, mental illness, general health screenings and evaluations. The 276,450 square foot facility is part of President Preckwinkle’s plan to modernize County infrastructure and create a more effective and humane criminal justice system. More than 85 percent of the jail population has tested positive for drugs. And many of those individuals suffer from an addiction that leads them to commit the crimes for which they are being held. The Cook County jail has also become the largest mental health care provider in the state because of the number of inmates who suffer from some kind of mental illness.
“It is my hope that the investment we’re making in this facility will pay dividends because we’ll be able to identify health needs at the outset of detention, treat these individuals while they are in our custody, and hopefully lower the rates of re-entry that are far too common within Cook County,” President Preckwinkle said.
The RTU will include separate male and female intake units, a medical and psychiatric screening facility, 24-hour crisis and intervention services, a correctional psychiatric care clinic and secured exterior recreation yards. The RTU will contain 979 medical beds for inmates and a staff of more than 200.
“The Cook County Health System is focused on providing the best health care possible. The opening of the RTU will allow our team to treat inmates who need to have critical care access to medical services,” said Dr. Raju, Chief Executive Officer of the Health System. The building has a green roof area of approximately 23,000 square feet and is seeking LEED Silver certification.
The Residential Treatment Unit will provide critical health-related services to inmates including substance abuse and mental illness treatment.