The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Sheriffs rap call to close centers

Jail cell in the Brecksville Police Department...
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It seems that Tennessee is not alone in the battle to balance the budget.  Here is another article about closing mental health facilities as a way to make the budget balance.  Where do the legislators think these patients will go?  Let’s just start closing down the medical facilities all over the US while we are at it.

I have seen this transpire in Oklahoma and now it is happening in other states across the nation.  When will this trend stop?  Or will it ever?

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Juvenile offenders, mental patients can’t be jailed, group says

Molly Parker
mparker2@clarionledger.com

Shuttering six mental health crisis centers, four mental health facilities and the state’s only juvenile correction center as Gov. Haley Barbour suggested would put an insurmountable burden on county jails, the president of the Mississippi Sheriffs’ Association said Wednesday.

Holmes County Sheriff Willie March said he is confident politicians can reach a more sensible solution to cut back on spending without jeopardizing the treatment of the mentally ill or the safety of the public.

“I don’t know what it costs, but the leadership of this state should be able to work together to figure out a plan rather than putting these people back on the streets,” March said.

Oakley Training School, located on 1,200 acres near Raymond, houses eight girls and 102 boys, according to the Department of Human Services.

“You can’t put them in county jails,” March said of the adolescents.

Lawmakers have been meeting privately this week with Barbour on a number of issues, including this one.

“We believe in this time of budget crisis these reductions are necessary, but the governor has said he’s willing to listen to other ideas,” said Barbour spokesman Dan Turner. “In the end, we have to close this budget gap, and we have to do so responsibly.”

Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said he will see to it no hospitals or crisis centers close.

“That’s off the table. I don’t even want to discuss it. I don’t care what he wants. I’m going to kill it. End of that subject,” said Holland, who chairs the Public Health and Human Services committee.

In a resolution, the sheriffs’ association said closing mental health facilities would “very likely expose counties to increased lawsuits and liability resulting from alleged deprivations of civil rights.”

Holland said he has not made up his mind about what the state should do about Oakley.

“I’m going to look at that very carefully, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

The facility opened in 1943. More than 300 DHS employees work there, according to the agency. The state entered into a decree in 2005 with the U.S. Department of Justice to improve conditions at the facility after federal authorities investigated and then sued over poor conditions, inadequate staffing and alleged abuses.

Barbour said closing the facility would save the state $22 million.

Rep. George Flaggs Jr., D-Vicksburg, said there are options as it relates to the youth correctional facility.

“I sympathize with the sheriffs’ association, and I’m confident the governor and the Department of Human Services will look at every option available to the best uses of that facility and that would not put the public safety at risk as it relates to juvenile crime,” he said.

Additional Facts

endangered In his budget recommendation, Gov. Haley Barbour suggested closing the following state Department of Mental Health facilities and crisis centers:

  • Central Mississippi Residential Center, which includes one crisis center in Newton
  • Mississippi Adolescent Center
  • North Mississippi State Hospital, including two crisis centers located in Batesville and Corinth
  • South Mississippi State Hospital, including one crisis center in Laurel
  • Brookhaven Crisis Center
  • Cleveland Crisis Center
  • Loophole lets mentally ill Texas juveniles go free (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
  • Conservative agenda will ‘stuff prisons,’ advocates say (thestar.com)
  • The Criminalization Of Mental Illness (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
  • Reblog this post [with Zemanta]Here’s the link to the original article
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    January 5, 2010 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , , ,

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