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Mentally Ill Trapped in Jail

on in Criminal Defense
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In the criminal justice system, the judge, the prosecution, or the defense can raise for the defendant the issue of fitness, whether or not the person is too mentally ill to plead or stand trial for the crime.  The defendant is then remanded to the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) for fitness determination and/or restoration.

Typically, where fitness has been raised, a defendant is incarcerated until there a bed available at an IDHS mental health facility.  Unfortunately, the IDHS is always at capacity, and that leaves all the remaining mentally ill patients to wait in jail until more beds are made available.  During this time, the mentally ill usually deteriorate, can cause harm to themselves, other inmates, or jail staff, and usually suffer extreme distress.

Recently, through a new state grant, the IDHS with work with the Chicago School of Professional Psychology to establish a new Fitness Restoration Program which will provide more beds for those mentally ill persons.


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