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Officials highlight mental illness in jails

Officials highlight mental illness in jails Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 11, 2013 at 6:15 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Law enforcement officials say Minnesota's local jails are overburdened by inmates suffering from mental illness who aren't getting the kind of treatment they need.

The state Senate's Judiciary Committee held a hearing Tuesday on mental health issues facing both the state Corrections Department and county jails. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek estimated that 25 to 30 percent of inmates in Hennepin County jails at any given time suffer some kind of mental illness, and that many of those are untreated cases.

Stanek says that often leaves jail workers forced to provide treatment despite not being qualified.

State Sen. Barb Goodwin of Columbia Heights says Minnesota is one of many U.S. states that "dropped the ball" in providing consistent mental health care for the indigent.

Mike Tanner

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