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Federal judge intervenes in Mississippi mental health system

Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 12:20:39-04

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge is taking charge of Mississippi's mental health system, saying the federal government has proved the state isn't doing enough to serve people outside the confinement of mental hospitals.

In a ruling late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves said he wants to appoint an outsider to oversee changes. He's asking the state and federal governments to suggest someone for the role.

The U.S. Justice Department argued during a monthlong trial this summer that Mississippi's movement toward community services was far too slow, forcing hundreds or thousands of people into avoidable hospital stays.

Reeves found that Mississippi is violating a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court decision that said "unjustified" mental hospital confinement is illegal.

The judge rejects Mississippi's arguments that it was progressing on its own.