CNN’s Anderson Cooper: ‘There Has to Be a Better Way’

By Mark Joyella 

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FullSizeRenderCNN’s Anderson Cooper says it was “eye-opening” to talk to inmates at Chicago’s Cook County Jail–often described as a dumping ground for people with mental illness and few options for treatment other than incarceration.

“It’s great that they receive some treatment in jail,” Cooper told TVNewser. “But there has to be a better way to help people struggling with mental illness that doesn’t depend on them committing a criminal offense.”

Cooper interviewed inmates–some of whom have never committed a violent crime, but spent more than half their lives locked up–and Sheriff Thomas Dart, an advocate for reform who recently told The New York Times of the sad irony in Cook County: “the same society that abhorred the idea that we lock people up in mental hospitals, now we lock people up in jails.”

The special report airs on CNN’s “AC 360” tonight at 9 p.m.