Sheriff frustrated over lack of treatment for mentally ill inmat - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sheriff frustrated over lack of treatment for mentally ill inmates

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
BAXTER COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery expressed his frustration on what he said is a lack of adequate treatment in the state for mentally ill inmates.

“This is extremely frustrating for all sheriffs in the state,” Montgomery said.

He said in Baxter County they transport inmates to Little Rock for treatment and 3 days later, they get a call to come get them.

According to Montgomery, doctors then say they need to be on suicide watch.

“Why would we pick him up if he’s not healthy,” Montgomery said.

He later said a jail is not a place for inmates to be if they are not mentally healthy and that causes safety concerns. 

“They could come in with a minor charge and because of their mental illness end up harming themselves, staff or other inmates,” Montgomery said. “It’s just a vicious cycle. The situation could’ve been handled by treating their illness in the beginning.”

Montgomery said he had a case last year involving an inmate with severe mental issues. The jail had to house him for 364 days before he was taken to a mental hospital.

“There’s just not enough room across the state for mentally ill inmates,” he said. “The mental health issue is almost at a crisis state across the state.”

He said someone needs to address this sooner than later.

“There will be a cost of course to address it,” Montgomery said. “In my opinion, the cost of not addressing it will be much higher.”

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