Isabelle Taft

Lawmakers Could Limit When County Officials in Mississippi Can Jail People Awaiting Psychiatric Treatment

The legislation follows reporting by Mississippi Today and ProPublica showing that hundreds of people in the state are jailed every year while awaiting court-ordered treatment simply because public mental health facilities are full or too far away.

5 Takeaways From Our Investigation Into How Mississippi Counties Jail People for Mental Illness

We’ve been reporting on the state’s civil commitment process in partnership with Mississippi Today. These are the most important findings.

Jailed for Their Own Safety, 14 Mississippians Died Awaiting Mental Health Treatment

Local officials often say they have no choice but to jail people awaiting treatment for mental illness and substance abuse — even if they’re not charged with a crime. But some people have died in the system that's supposed to protect them.

Mississippi Jailed More Than 800 People Awaiting Psychiatric Treatment in a Year. Just One Jail Meets State Standards.

Counties are allowed to hold people awaiting court-ordered psychiatric treatment in jails only if the facilities meet safety and health standards, but there’s no funding to help them comply and no penalties if they don’t.

Mississippi Remains an Outlier in Jailing People With Serious Mental Illness Without Charges

At least a dozen states have banned the practice of jailing people without charges while they await mental health treatment. But Mississippi routinely keeps people in jail during the civil commitment process.

Their Families Said They Needed Treatment. Mississippi Officials Threw Them in Jail Without Charges.

In Mississippi, serious mental illness or substance abuse can land you in jail, even if you aren’t charged with a crime. The state is a stark outlier in jailing so many people for so long, but many officials say they don’t have another option.

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