EMS wants money to expand mental health services at jail
BATON ROUGE - Wednesday, the Baton Rouge Metro Council will begin a discussion about increasing the amount of hours social workers spend at the jail evaluating inmates with mental health issues.
Baton Rouge EMS, the ambulatory agency in charge of inmate care at the parish jail, will ask the council for more money to increase the hours. The spending plan calls for not more than $75,000.
The issues at the jail were the focus of a WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit report in February. The story found, since two health care facilities closed in the last couple of years, the East Baton Rouge Parish jail started to resemble a hospital ward and had hundreds of people with mental health issues locked up.
"In the past few years, we've seen the number of mental health cases go up, both in and out of the prisons," EMS spokesperson Mike Chustz said. "The social workers come in and they evaluate these people along with the physicians to get a continuous regimen to try and help these people," he added.
"We have to make a decision on whether we want to rehabilitate inmates or we just want to warehouse them," Warden Dennis Grimes said in the Investigative story.
"They need to be in as hospital getting their mental health treatment," EBR Coroner Beau Clark told the Investigative Unit.
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