Crist Says Mentally Ill Need Better Care

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ Two Florida leaders are calling for a major overhaul of the state's mental health system.

Governor Charlie Crist and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Lewis say the state needs to do a better job of addressing the needs of the severely mentally ill.

Their comments came yesterday during a mental health summit in
Tallahassee.

Crist and Lewis released a report compiled by a special study committee. Among the findings is that so many people with mental
illnesses have been placed behind bars, that jails have become the
largest mental health care providers in local communities.

The head of the state prison system estimates his facilities house about 17,000 mentally ill inmates.

The report says many of those inmates end up behind bars because
they haven't received the treatment they need.


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