WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Scarce mental health resources across Kansas are swelling the ranks of local jails with inmates who might be better served in psychiatric institutions.
Jails in Johnson and Shawnee counties have special pods for prisoners with mental illnesses, but no such facilities exist in the state's second most-populated county.
The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/Q1hNQ9) reports Sedgwick County Sheriff Robert Hinshaw, who lost his re-election bid in August, has been pushing for years to build a dedicated pod for inmates with mental illnesses.
But with expected first-year operating costs pegged at $750,000 in 2009, no funding has been provided for such a pod.
Hinshaw says the average length of stay in Sedgwick County's jail is 28 days, but for 49 inmates he would house in a special pod, the average is 165 days.
Information from: The Wichita Eagle, http://www.kansas.com