Indiana is being sued over allegations it’s letting people who need mental health treatment sit in jail rather than get court-ordered services.
A lawsuit was brought by the ACLU of Indiana and the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission.
When a person is found to be incompetent to stand trial, the state is required to provide what are known as "competency restoration services." Those are often provided at state psychiatric hospitals.
A new lawsuit argues that the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction has “grossly inefficient capacity” to get people the services they need. That means those defendants must sit in county jails without access to necessary treatment, sometimes for months.
Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues.
The court filing alleges that in Marion County alone, the average time spent in jail awaiting transfer to a treatment facility is about 121 days.
Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, said the state is not only violating the law but also doing immense harm to people’s health.
The lawsuit asks the court to order the state to put prisoners in need of treatment into the proper facilities.
Indiana did announce a series of pilot programs in 2020 aimed at providing more alternatives to state psychiatric hospitals for competency restoration services. Those include jails, the community and private inpatient psychiatric settings.