Task force to aid NYC's mentally ill inmates

NEW YORK (AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a task force that seeks to reduce the number of mentally ill in the city's jails.

The panel of government and private sector experts will try to come up with effective strategies to treat mentally ill people inside and outside the criminal justice system.

The mayor says that for too long city jails have acted as de facto mental health facilities.

Currently, about 40 percent of the city jail population has some form of mental illness.

The initiative comes in the wake of an Associated Press report on the death of a mentally ill inmate who was jailed on trespassing charges and left unattended in his cell as the temperature rose to 101 degrees.

The panel is to report to the mayor in September.

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