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Jail may no longer take mentally-challenged inmates

Jail may no longer take mentally-challenged inmates



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The Utah County Sheriff's Office is making a stand. It says it just won't accept some people at the county jail anymore.

Inside the walls of the Utah County jail, Lt. Dennis Harris, with the Utah County Sheriff's Office, says too often they are sent inmates who have the mental ability of a 5-year-old.

"We give them crayons, a coloring book. We have others that will bathe in their urine and paint with their feces. I know it sounds really gross, but those are some of the people that we have inside county jails," he said.

Harris says he understands and sympathizes with families that sometimes one of these patients might be violent at home, but he says the jail is not going to get them the help they need. He says the Legislature needs to look at this because it's a problem jails are facing statewide.

According to the Daily Herald, Utah County commissioners will likely declare that those with long-term mental illness and those who are mentally disabled will no longer be accepted at the jail when they commit violent crimes. They haven't said where they should go.

E-mail: rjeppesen@ksl.com

Randall Jeppesen

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