University News

Cook County DOC Director to Address 
 Adler Graduates in Chicago 08.24.17
Cook County DOC Director to Address
Adler Graduates in Chicago

A justice reform advocate and the executive director for the Cook County Department of Corrections will address Adler University graduates in Chicago next month.

Commencement is set for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Chicago Theater, 175 N. State St., where Adler University President Raymond E. Crossman, Ph.D., will confer graduates’ degrees. The university’s faculty, staff and students are honored to welcome the day’s keynote speaker, Dr. Nneka Jones Tapia, who served as the first assistant executive director for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office prior to embracing her current DOC director role in May 2015.

Jones Tapia’s notable work has centered on justice and justice reform. She led mental health strategy for the Cook County Jail at the direction of Sheriff Thomas Dart, who has long decried the criminalization of mental illness as a tragic byproduct of widespread resource cuts throughout the county and state. As such, mentally ill individuals are routinely incarcerated for small offenses such as petty theft, panhandling, trespassing, prostitution, disorderly conduct and drug-related crimes.

The Cook County Jail is home to up to 2,500 mentally ill inmates each day. Tapia Jones sought to combat those individuals’ frequent reentry into the system by launching the Mental Health Transition Center. The center offers supportive resources aimed at curbing recidivism. Tapia Jones has also spearheaded several programs to improve health among inmates and the city’s residents.

She has also served as chief psychologist at Cermak Health Services, the onsite medical and mental health provider for the county’s department of corrections, where she developed and chaired numerous mental health programs and committees.

Jones Tapia’s decorated academic career includes a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; a master’s degree in clinical psychology from East Carolina University; and a doctorate of psychology from the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.

About Adler University

Adler University educates students to engage the world and create a more just society. Established in 1952, it enrolls more than 1,400 students in master’s and doctoral programs for social change through its campuses in downtown Chicago and Vancouver, as well as an Online Campus. Adler University’s mission is to continue the pioneering work of Alfred Adler, the first community psychologist, by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.