Judge urged to force mental health changes in Mississippi

MGN Online

According to the federal government, Mississippi could improve on providing mental health services in communities.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 2:38 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department tells a federal judge that Mississippi provides too few mental health services in the community and holds too many people in state hospitals.

In opening arguments Tuesday, lawyer Deena Fox urged U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves to intervene to force improvements in community services. Federal officials argue Mississippi's current system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves | Photo: Megan Bean / Mississippi State University

The state says the federal government is overreaching. Lawyer James Shelson says Mississippi is progressing on its own. Shelson says Reeves should give Mississippi time to make improvements, and not burden it with an overly expensive court order that demands too many services.

Reeves is hearing the case without a jury. The trial in Jackson could go six weeks or longer, and a decision is unlikely before late this year.

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