Jail mental health treatment bill to go to state Senate
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Lawmakers took action Tuesday on a request from the state’s Department of Social Services — to allow criminal suspects found mentally unfit to stand trial to be treated in jail or in their homes.
The department says the courts are increasingly finding defendants incapable of understanding the proceedings, or defending themselves due to mental illness.
However, many of the defendants have to wait months for treatment because the state’s only public psychiatric hospital is understaffed, and two of its four units are closed.
A senate committee has approved a bill to allow the changes. It now goes to the full senate.