Madison County Officials Form Mental Health Task Force

EDWARDSVILLE, IL (KMOX) – Too often in Madison County, Illinois, a mentally ill person who has been arrested by law enforcement has only one place to go: jail.

For that reason, a “Mental Health Task Force” has been formed to study the problem.

Co-chair of the task force, Judge Richard Tognarelli, says prison just isn’t the place for the mentally ill.

“While they’re in our jails, they’ll get some basic medical treatment and mental health care but not the treatment that they actually need,” he said.

Tognarelli says oftentimes the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health just doesn’t have room for those in need. “Which means that person is going to have to reside in our jail until a bed or treatment facility becomes available to treat his or her mental illness.”

The task force, made up of law enforcement, lawmakers, educators, prosecutors, public defenders, and others will make recommendations to the courts and to the Madison County Board, with hopes the state legislature will take some action as well.

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