Counties Hurt By Lack Of Second Hospital

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.

Douglas County Sheriff Jay Armbrister said 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 had been incarcerated, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

A large part of the reason that his case took so long was a significant backlog of inmates ordered to receive mental health treatment at the Larned State Hospital in Pawnee County.

The backlog has led to many inmates spending months, if not years, behind bars even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime.

Armbrister said he believes the state must do more to fix the problem.