DOJ sues Mississippi for ADA violations: 4 things to know

The Department of Justice has sued the state of Mississippi, alleging the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act by neglecting to provide necessary, community-based mental health services to adults with disabilities.

Here are four things to know about the lawsuit.

1. Under the ADA and the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., states are required to make services available to people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, according to the DOJ.

2. The complaint alleges the Mississippi failed to provide adults with mental illnesses access to community services, forcing them to receive care in segregated state hospitals, including Whitfield-based Mississippi State Hospital, Meridian-based East Mississippi State Hospital, Tupelo-based North Mississippi State Hospital and Purvis-based South Mississippi State Hospital.

3. The complaint further alleges adults with mental illnesses often "spend days in local emergency rooms and jail holding facilities that are ill-equipped to address their needs" before being transferred to state psychiatric hospitals.

4. The DOJ has engaged in discussions with the state, but has yet to reach a settlement.

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