- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officials say dozens of mentally ill people charged with crimes are stuck in jail, because Maryland’s health department doesn’t have beds or staff to treat new patients.

The Baltimore Sun reports (https://bsun.md/1UpIqym ) that Maryland’s health secretary says all of the in-patient facilities are full. Van Mitchell wrote to a Prince George’s County judge in April that “our system has been consistently over census for the past year.”

The newspaper says union officials are blaming the shortages on a cost-saving policy of pushing care for the mentally ill into the private sector.

This week, a Baltimore lawyer went to court to block the health department from turning away would-be patients. Last week, 85 people referred by courts or jails were on waiting lists for five state mental health facilities.

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