LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A Nebraska corrections official says prisons effectively have become mental health facilities because so many inmates need treatment.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that about 56 percent of people in Nebraska prisons had at least one mental health diagnosis at the end of last year. Inmates with serious mental illness are estimated to make up 16 percent of the prison population.
Dr. Harbans Deol is the deputy director of health services for the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. He says prisons have more mental health beds than psychiatric hospitals do.
Deol says each inmate gets mental health assessments and physical exams within 14 days of arrival. Inmates are then assigned to a level of care. Prisons become important mental health facilities without the necessary community services available.