Magazine article Corrections Forum

Kan. County Gets Plan on Keeping Mentally Ill out of Jail

Magazine article Corrections Forum

Kan. County Gets Plan on Keeping Mentally Ill out of Jail

Article excerpt

Kansas City Star

A new Johnson County, Kan., study recommends far more resources and broad coordination of the justice and health systems to help keep the mentally ill out of jail. The report, released after 19 months of research, addresses a problem common to communities nationwide. It found that 17 percent of those booked into the Johnson County jan were mentally ill, roughly the national average. The county's initiative has been designated a national demonstration project by the U.S. Department of Justice. It was carried out by groups that included county law enforcement, corrections, the district attorney, and mental health experts.

The report makes more than three dozen recommendations and has already resulted in federal grants to fund some initiatives. "We found there is no single solution," said Karen Wulfkuhle of United Community Services of Johnson County, the group that provided a grant to start the study. Each arrest or contact creates an intercept point that can get help to the mentally ill, the report says. …

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