Police officers in Yakima County, Washington are participating in training to help them assess the needs of mentally ill individuals according to an article by By Phil Ferolito of the Yakima Herald-Republic. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_wa_jail_diversion.html?source=mypi. The goal is to divert individuals with mental illness to community treatment programs, a more cost effective and humane alternative to jail.
Mr. Ferlito writes, "Since the 1950s, beds at mental hospitals nationwide have been reduced from more than 500,000 to about 58,000, sending many people who suffer from mental illness into the streets and jails."
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