Incompetent Inmates to Get Help in Jail

CLEARWATER -

Last year, a Pinellas (Circuit) judge ruled the Department of Children and Families chief broke the law by not transferring mentally ill inmates from county jail to state treatment facility within the 15 days required.

Lucy Hadi, former head of DCF, said there were not enough beds and not enough money to transfer the inmates.

The new DCF chief, Bob Butterworth, laid out a new program designed to provide more room for those inmates. Secretary Butterworth wants to start treating inmates as soon as possible. Under the new program, mental health professionals will visit inmates in jail while they're waiting for transfer.

BUTTERWORTH: So we an at least stabilize that person here. This could have a very favorable effect, and if it does, then we believe that we can take it then statewide.

With $17-million in fresh funding from the state legislature, Butterworth hopes DCF can treat everyone by the end of July.

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