People with mental illness in jail face long waits for treatment in Oregon

(KGW) From the Clatsop County jail, 32-year-old Kenny Benton waits for treatment of his mental illness. Benton is currently deemed too mentally ill to aid and assist with his criminal trial. Instead, he attends weekly fitness-to-proceed hearings where lawyers, doctors, family members and a judge decide what comes next. Despite the medical recommendation and a federal order mandating quick transport and treatment of defendants like Benton with mental illness, Benton has now waited close to two months for mental healthcare.

Through KGW’s Uncommitted series, reporters have explored troubling gaps in Oregon’s mental health system, showing how high state standards can make it difficult to force involuntarily mental health treatment.

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