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Lawsuit: Indiana not adequately providing services to those incompetent to stand trial

Indiana is being sued over allegations it’s letting people who need mental health treatment sit in jail rather than get court-ordered services.

A lawsuit was brought by the ACLU of Indiana and the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission.

When a person is found to be incompetent to stand trial, the state is required to provide what are known as "competency restoration services." Those are often provided at state psychiatric hospitals.

A new lawsuit argues that the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction has “grossly inefficient capacity” to get people the services they need. That means those defendants must sit in county jails without access to necessary treatment, sometimes for months.

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The court filing alleges that in Marion County alone, the average time spent in jail awaiting transfer to a treatment facility is about 121 days.

Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, said the state is not only violating the law but also doing immense harm to people’s health.

The lawsuit asks the court to order the state to put prisoners in need of treatment into the proper facilities.

Indiana did announce a series of pilot programs in 2020 aimed at providing more alternatives to state psychiatric hospitals for competency restoration services. Those include jails, the community and private inpatient psychiatric settings.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2022 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.