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Mentally ill in Kansas prisons more than double

Published on -1/28/2013, 7:19 AM

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The number of mentally ill prisoners in Kansas has increased by 126 percent since 2006.

The Topeka Capital-Journal (http://bit.ly/YxttTP ) reports that nearly two out of every five adult inmates in Kansas is classified as mentally ill.

Republican Sen. Steve Fitzgerald blames the spike on what he describes as the state's failure to develop an effective community-based system of treatment. His district includes Lansing Correctional Facility.

Fitzgerald says Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts is by default the provider of last resort for a growing cadre of people with mental illness.

Kansas cut mental health spending by 12 percent from 2008 to 2011. But after the school shooting in Connecticut, Gov. Sam Brownback announced this month he would redirect $10 million for a new mental health initiative.

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