Franken Aims to Keep Mentally Ill Out of Prison and Into Treatment

New Bill Will Improve Police Crisis Intervention Training

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St. Louis County Police say forty-three percent of inmates booked at the jail has a mental illness.

It’s a number Senator Al Franken says is too high.

Monday afternoon Franken sat down with city and county police, the St. Louis County Attorney, and mental health professionals to get their perspective on what can be done to keep the mentally ill out of jail.

Currently, Franken is working to reintroduce a bill that will give all police crisis intervention training, and get offenders the help they need.

“People languish who really don’t belong in prison and have a mental illness which gets worse in prison and then when they get out they end up back again,” said state Senator Al Franken explaining a typical cycle of offenders.

Statistics show one in four people will develop a mental health issue during their life.

“I’m trying to make sure that we can divert people who are mentally ill so that they don’t go in our prisons but so they get treatment,” said Franken.

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