Friday, February 12, 2016

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announces - Photography class for Cook County Jail inmates develops passion for art

No  one wants to go to jail. But last week a couple hundred people sat in the gymnasium of the Mental Health Transition Center at Cook County Jail and they were happy, filling the place with smiles and applause, vivid visions on the wall and what felt like hope in the air.

More than 100 of them had to be there. They were prisoners awaiting trial for a variety of non-violent crimes such as drug possession, retail theft, criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.

There were heavily armed guards. They had to be there, too; it's their watchful job. There were some CCJ administrators and other staff. There were some members of the city's artistic community, a few relatives of the incarcerated men, four members of the press and a professional photographer named Christopher Jacobs, who said, addressing this crowd, "This is surreal to be here."

But he was the reason the people were there, for an event billed as the "1st Cook County Jail Mental Health Transition Center Photography Exhibit."

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