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This series of photographic portraits and interviews with Cook County Jail inmates as well as jail social workers and psychologists provides a glimpse of life with mental illness behind bars.
The Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago is one of the largest single-site pre-detention facilities in the world, with an average daily population hovering around 9,000 inmates. It is estimated that 35 percent of this population is mentally ill. Now more patients than ever are being treated in jail rather than at a mental health facility. Cook County Jail has become one of the largest, if not the largest, mental health care providers in the United States.
Lili Holzer-Glier graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2010 with a BFA in photography, and received her master’s degree in digital media from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, Narratively, Thirteen, Quartz, The Wilson Quarterly, Vice and The Vera Institute of Justice. Her first book, Rockabye, was published in 2015 by Daylight Books. She is a winner of American Photography 32 and American Photography 33 and her work has been shown in the 2017 exhibitions Re-imagining a Safe Space at the Nathan Cummings Foundation and On Freedom at the Aperture Foundation.
Mary Crowley is Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs at the Vera Institute of Justice. A member of its leadership team, she leads Vera’s strategic communications efforts, particularly around its core priorities of reducing the use of jails, improving conditions for people who are incarcerated, and securing equal justice in an increasingly diverse America. In addition to overseeing numerous campaign launches, Mary has led a number of initiatives, including Vera’s recent rebranding and website overhaul, National Prison Visiting Week, and the communications around its 2015 International Sentencing and Corrections Exchange, which was featured in The Marshall Project and on 60 Minutes.