On March 3, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek testified before a Minnesota Senate committee concerning a study on mental health services in county jails.
Stanek reiterated a case he’s been making for over three years— mental illness is a medical condition, not a crime.
“The vast majority of inmates with mental illness in my jail have been booked on low-level charges due to behaviors that are symptomatic of their condition. Yet, the state of Minnesota has systematically criminalized mental illness by failing to provide the range of treatment options needed,” said Stanek.
The Office of the Legislative Auditor conducted the study and made recommendations to address the problem.