December 01, 2006

$5M to Treat Defendants With Severe Mental Illness Languishing in Florida Jails, But $50M Needed

The Miami Herald newspaper reported that the head of the Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF), Lucy Hadi, under threat of jail time for contempt of court, announced that $5 million dollars had been obtained to provide needed psychiatric hospital treatment for Pinellas County jailed defendants who are currently too ill to stand trial.

Previously, the department had cut back $53 million in funding and now another $45 million dollars in funding may still be needed to provide timely care for the defendants with severe mental illness waiting trials. Hadi is accused of approving a decision to ignore judge's orders that the agency adhere to existing Florida law requiring that mentally ill defendants waiting trial be provided treatment within 15 days of being jailed.

Public defenders in three other Florida counties are also trying to force DCF to treat inmates with mental illnesses.

Link to the 25 November 2006 Miami Herald article: DCF finds $5M for ill inmates

Related Articles:
Officials Clash Over Mentally Ill in Florida Jails
Prisons - The New Asylums (News Report)
Mental Health Challenges in Florida


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