Sheriff gets report on jail and mental illness

BLOOMINGTON – A consultant says the McLean County Jail in Bloomington is ahead of other jails in its approach to housing inmates with severe mentally illnesses.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports that consultant Ken Ray was brought in by Sheriff Mike Emery, who wants to develop a plan to end the practice to keeping the most troubled inmates in the jail's booking area.

The sheriff says the criminal justice system needs help from community agencies to address the needs of people with mental illnesses. With the elimination of psychiatric hospital beds, jails and emergency rooms have been overwhelmed with people who need treatment.

The sheriff says the jail will address one suggestion quickly: Inmates will be provided with medications before they leave the jail. Now prescriptions are called in to pharmacies.

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