Sheriffs: Help needed to cope with mentally ill…

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A sheriff says county jails have become the “insane asylums'' for Indiana as state inpatient care for the mentally ill has disintegrated.


Franklin County Sheriff Kenneth Murphy was one of two sheriffs who told a legislative study committee Monday that inpatient alternatives to jail are desperately needed. 

Murphy and Howard County Sheriff Steve Rogers say mentally ill inmates need treatment, not incarceration. But it's difficult to get treatment because many state mental hospitals have shut down and many of the mentally ill can't afford to pay for treatment.

Both sheriffs estimated that as many as one-fourth of jail inmates in Indiana may have serious mental illness.

The sheriffs suggested possible solutions including mental health courts and counties combining to set up regional mental health care centers.