Mental Health

Judges ask lawmakers' help on shortage of psychiatric beds

Judges ask lawmakers' help on shortage of psychiatric beds

Three judges who order inmates to treatment in mental health facilities asked state lawmakers Wednesday to help set clear rules on how long people can languish in jail waiting to be transferred for psychiatric care — and who will be held responsible if that deadline passes.

Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader, who is under a judge’s contempt order for the shortage of beds and long waits for such patients, joined the judges in asking the General Assembly for clear guidance.

“This is a problem,” Baltimore City Mental Health Court Judge George Lipman said of the chronic shortage of beds during a hearing Wednesday in Annapolis. “This is a lose-sleep-as-a-judge...

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