Sheriffs want limit on jail wait for mentally ill | St. Louis Public Radio

Sheriffs want limit on jail wait for mentally ill

Apr 4, 2011

A law enforcement group is supporting legislation to address a backlog of jail inmates waiting to be transferred to crowded state psychiatric facilities.

The Illinois Sheriffs' Association says inmates sometimes wait months in jail before they can get into a state facility for court-ordered treatment. They are defendants who've been determined unfit to stand trial because of mental illness. Treatment sometimes allows them to return to court to stand trial.

The group supports a proposal to allow sheriffs to take such inmates to the nearest treatment facility after 10 days in jail.

Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz is president of the sheriffs' association. He says the backlog leaves county taxpayers paying for inmates who should be the responsibility of the state mental health system.