LILI HOLZER-GLIER, FINALIST OF THE SEPTEMBER 2017 EDITION
Please scroll down to see the statement and images of Lili's Project
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. Clients include 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 one of the winners of American Photography 32 and American Photography 33.
Project Statement, What Life Is Inside The Massive Jail That Doubles As Chicago's Largest Mental Health Facility
A man bound hand and foot struggles to sit upright and hollers, “This is inhumane!” Another pulls his knees to his chin and, wide-eyed, whispers about telekinesis and the CIA. “Someone cut off all my toes,” a third man with scars streaking his face says quietly. “I’m so glad I’m finally in the hospital.” But this isn’t a hospital. The Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago is one of the largest single-site predetention 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. According to a May 2015 report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Illinois cut $113.7 million in funding for mental health services between 2009 and 2012. Two state-operated inpatient facilities and six City of Chicago mental health clinics have shut down since 2009. The report goes on to detail that Governor Bruce Rauner’s 2016 budget proposal to slash $87 million of funding for mental health services could cause an estimated 16,533 adults to lose access to care. Emergency room visits for patients having a psychiatric crisis increased by 19 percent from 2009 to 2012. A 2013 report by Illinois mental health care provider Thresholds found that the increase in ER visits and hospitalizations resulting from the $113 million budget cuts cost Illinois $131 million—almost $18 million more than the original “savings.” 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 provider in the United States. In late 2015, I began working on this project in collaboration with Narratively and the Vera Institute of Justice. A series of photographs and interviews conducted with inmates and jail staff was published on the Vera Institute microsite: humantollofjail.vera.org and was subsequently picked up by Vice. I am expanding this project into a book to be published by Powerhouse Books in the fall of 2018.