Authorities see multi-layered approach in mental health

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - Pulaski County Sheriff Doc Holladay said this week that his department keeps track of nearly 1,200 inmates in the Pulaski County jail every day, with a little over five percent of them scheduled to be somewhere else.

According to a report from Little Rock television station KARK, about 80 of the inmates have been committed to the Arkansas State Hospital for mental health evaluations set before they go to trial.

As of now, only 12 of them have been evaluated, KARK said.

"It's important that we get them out of here and into the state hospital as quickly as possible, Holladay said.

The state hospital, based in Little Rock, has 160 beds with each of them full. However, officials say they are staffing problems at the hospital. Hospital officials, according to KARK, asked for 62 positions to help operate the hospital.

Holladay said that the delays in evaluations have caused delays in trials, plus creates a dangerous situation for jail staff.

"They're a danger to themselves. They're a danger to the staff of the jail. They're a danger to other inmates," Holladay said.

Right now, the Pulaski County jail has about 65 full-time employees including medical personnel to help the patients.

"We're a mental health facility in a fashion," Holladay said.

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