Kansas inmates wait months for mental health treatment

Local

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Inmates with mental health issues are waiting months to get the medication and treatment they need to be deemed competent to assist in their own defense because a state hospital is so overtaxed.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister says the situation is so bad that the case of one man with severe mental health issues took six years to make it through the court system.

The man ultimately was sentenced to 16 months or less than a quarter of the amount of time he was incarcerated.

Armbrister says the case encapsulates the “dark underbelly” of the state’s criminal justice system, which he believes fails to properly account for the mental health of those who are held in jail prior to conviction.

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