Trenton, NJ
Informing and Connecting Engaged Citizens
April 13, 2015
Many With Special Needs Stuck Behind Bars

More than 300 other inmates with diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are also waiting for beds in the five other state hospitals that treat defendants with mental illness.
Officials and advocates across the board agree that the backlog is costing taxpayers money and delaying treatment for the accused as well as justice for them and their alleged victims.
In some counties, including Los Angeles, lockups are already under scrutiny over their treatment of inmates with mental illness. More state money could build and staff additional hospital beds, but some officials want to first see whether the problem will be eased by Proposition 47 — which has already reduced overcrowding in county jails by slashing penalties for many property and drug crimes.

State analysts also believe the California Department of State Hospitals needs to better manage the resources it has now. In some cases, hospital beds remain empty despite the waiting list. In the meantime, the state wants counties to treat more inmates found to be mentally incompetent in the jails, a potentially cheaper solution that has won some support but also raised the hackles of defense attorneys and advocates who say jail is not the right setting for such patients.

See link to full article below.
Special Needs In Jail
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