Bill would make federal government cover larger cost of inmate m - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Bill would make federal government cover larger cost of inmate mental healthcare

(Source: WSFA 12) (Source: WSFA 12)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

An Alabama senator wants the federal government to cover most of the cost of caring for inmates with mental illnesses.

Senator Cam Ward has introduced a bill that would shift 70 percent of the costs to the federal government under Medicaid.

His proposal would also allow county inmates to resume federal mental health care benefits immediately after release.

Right now, Medicaid coverage is terminated when a person enters a county jail.

"A mental health patient who leaves a county jail and if they're able to have the medication that they're supposed to have, and often times they're under court orders to follow through with a treatment plan, if they are able to get the medication they're supposed to have, it's much less likely they're going to commit some other crime going forward," said Ward. 

"We see em again and again, typically for the same reason. They're typically off their medication which, as a result, causes them to act in a way that attracts law enforcement calls," said Captain Jay Fondren with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office. 

The bill will now move to the Judiciary Committee for a vote.

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