Criminal Justice

New Florida Plan for Mentally Ill Inmates: Community Treatment

  • Print

An ambitious effort to treat mentally ill Florida residents who have been clogging the state’s prison system after they commit crimes has been jointly announced by the governor and the head of the supreme court.

The plan, discussed in a 170-page report released yesterday, calls for diverting money now spent to treat mentally ill inmates to community-based programs that can help them stay on an even keel and hence stay out of jail, reports the Miami Herald. Medicaid money also is available to help pay for mental health treatment for community residents, although it cannot be spent on those already in jail.

”What we’re doing is focusing on this very small group of people who are costing the state a ton of money and are recycling through the criminal justice system,” says Miami-Dade County Judge Steven Leifman, who chairs the supreme court’s mental health subcommittee. “About 80 percent of those people can live comfortably and safely in the community.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.