Sen. Al Franken wants to do something to help jails deal with the large number of inmates who have mental health issues. He is sponsoring the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act to fund mental health courts and crisis intervention teams.
The legislation would also invest in veteran treatment courts and help train law enforcement officers on how to handle situations involving people with a mental illness. Franken says the bill would save taxpayer money by getting non-violent offenders out of jail and into treatment programs that can help them.
"Very often our jails house more mentally ill people than mental hospitals and our other institutions," Franken said. "This is costing our society a lot of money and it's also costing a lot of people what could be productive lives."
Sen. Franken plans to introduce the bill soon. It did not pass in the last Congress, but Franken says it has bipartisan support and he's optimistic it will pass this session.