Addressing Missouri’s Mental Health Treatment Delays in Jail

Estimated read time 4 min read

There’s a problem in Missouri right now. People who are in jail and need help with their mental health are having to wait too long. This issue worries officials, people who want to help, and those of us watching from the outside as they try to fix it.


Current Challenges

Waiting for Treatment:  Right now, 314 people in Missouri jails need mental health treatment and didn’t get it yet. Plus, there are another 268 people who need someone to check if they’re mentally fit for their trial.

Increased Demand: Jeanette Simmons works on behavioral health, and she says more and more people need help but there aren’t enough resources or staff to give that help quickly.

Local Impact: In Boone County alone, 13 inmates are stuck waiting. One person has been waiting since July last year! It’s not just Boone County either. Cole County has reported the same kind of problems for its inmates too. This is a report on getting assessments and care for mental health.

Case Highlight

Quatavia Givens, who was charged with a big crime in 2018, has been found not ready to face trial. But she hasn’t gotten the treatment she needs. This has held up her court case. This is what the law says,

Legal Requirements: In Missouri people taken into custody should get a mental health check within 60 days. But some are waiting half a year. This slows down their trials and keeps them from getting important mental health support. This is what they’re thinking of doing about it,

Proposed Solution: They’re looking at setting up special teams that would give treatment to prisoners right there in jail. Building a new hospital in Kansas City is another idea being tossed around. It would let more people get treatment faster.

Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Advocacy

Chief Justice Mary Russell said in her speech that jails aren’t good places for treating mental illness. She’s pushing for changes to fix this problem.

This is about full-bodied plans that rope in all parts of the government and businesses.

This is a shoutout to bigger pretrial services. They check which inmates can switch to special programs before their trial.


This is what the lawmakers did

This is about money from lawmakers. They gave $2.5 million for programs in jails that help people get mentally fit for court. Plus, they’re spending $300 million on a new mental health place in Kansas City.

This is a problem though, Director Val Huhn says just throwing money and new buildings at the issue isn’t enough. There’s a big need for more staff which makes things slow.


Wrapping it up, We need an allin plan

This is Missouri’s tough time with fast mental health care and checks in jails making them see they need a plan that works together. It needs better places, laws, and more people to work well. These slowdowns mess with justice and hurt people too.

This is a serious situation in Missouri. They are really struggling to give mental health help quickly enough in their jails. There are over 300 people waiting to get care, which should happen within two months according to the law.

People have come up with some ideas to fix this problem like having special teams for mental health issues, building new places for treatment, and doing more before the trial even starts. It’s super important that everyone both government folks and private companies work together to sort this mess out. This is the only way everyone can get justice and the support they need when they need it. Missouri isn’t giving up though.

The state knows it has a big job on its hands trying to cope with all these people who need help with their mental health inside the justice system. They want to make sure that no one who needs help is left waiting too long.

So wrapping things up, there’s a big hurdle in Missouri right now as they try hard to get folks in jail the mental health treatment they urgently need without any more delays.

This is a problem with too many cases and not enough mental health checkups or help. People need more options, like teams to help right in the jails, new places for care, and better services before going to trial. To fix this big issue, everyone has to work together government folks, judges and courts, doctors and nurses treating mental health, plus people in the community. If Missouri focuses on mental health and makes things smoother for those dealing with the law, it can stick to fairness and kindness making sure people get help they need to be part of the society again.

Celina Brooks

Celina Brooks from Mussoorie is a Writer & Researcher. She earned her Engineering degree in IT from Rutgers University. She is a technology enthusiast but loves writing and talking about local news as well. She is a jolly person with 2 children.

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