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New York City may move mentally ill inmates to hospitals

City officials are looking to develop facilities other than jails to offer specialty medical care for inmates with medical or mental health issues, according to the Intelligencer.

Three things to know:

1. The city's Correctional Health Services called for prospective contractors to design "therapeutic housing units" –– locked facilities that would be situated in or near three to six existing city hospitals. The units would be operated by Correctional Health Services, part of New York City-based NYC Health + Hospitals, and the state's Department of Correction, according to documents obtained by the Intelligencer.

2. Because of the absence of mental health treatment services, jails have become de facto psychiatric facilities to provide care for inmates, according to the report. Jails nationwide have struggled to provide care for inmates with serious health and mental health issues and are often required to shuttle inmates between jails and hospitals.  

"Until the country gets it together, builds hospitals, outpatient, this [plan] is the Band-Aid we've come up with," Department of Correction acting warden John Gallagher said in a statement last week, according to the Intelligencer.

3. Roughly 1,100 incarcerated people, or 16 percent, of those housed in New York City's jails have been diagnosed with serious mental illness, according to data from the Correctional Health Services cited by the publication.

To access the full report, click here.

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