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About Sheriff Dart

Sheriff Thomas J. Dart has dedicated his career to challenging injustice and bringing a thoughtful approach to public service.

After serving as a prosecutor and Illinois state legislator, Dart ran for Cook County Sheriff in 2006, promising to bring his reformative vision to the role. In the ensuing years, he has fulfilled that promise by introducing numerous and meaningful changes to a criminal justice system that often locks up the most vulnerable and neglected among us. Dart has essentially rewritten the book on what a Sheriff can accomplish – often looking outside of the conventions of law enforcement for solutions.

Dart has shined a national spotlight on the perils of the criminalization of mental illness. He has helped to fill the void left by mental health treatment centers closing in Chicago with necessary care and treatment programs for the mentally ill inside and outside of the Cook County Jail, the largest single-site jail in the country.

Dart has helped introduce and pass state laws aimed at important criminal justice reform. He championed the Rocket Docket law, which has resulted in the faster adjudication of low-level crimes such as retail theft and petty drug offenses.  He also helped enact a law waiving the $120 fee for criminal record expungement, which he called a criminal justice tax.

Most recently, Dart has taken aim at the violence in Chicago, introducing the Sheriff’s Anti-Violence Effort (SAVE) program at the jail. The program provides intensive programming for 18 to 24-year-olds incarcerated from the most violent zip-codes in the city.

To learn more about programming in the jail, click here:

In 2009, Dart was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine.

He and his wife Patricia live on Chicago’s South Side and are proud parents of five children.


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