- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is scheduled to testify before a congressional committee about access to mental health services.

Dart has criticized cuts to mental health care in Illinois and the closure of several large state mental health hospitals.

He says the Cook County Jail is now the country’s largest mental health facility. Dart’s office estimates about 30 percent of the jail’s population on any given day is suffering from a serious mental illness.

Dart is expected to speak Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. The hearing is titled “Where Have All the Patients Gone? Examining the Psychiatric Bed Shortage.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy is a Republican from Pennsylvania and the subcommittee’s chairman. He invited Dart to speak because of the sheriff’s previous advocacy work.

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