As Alabama cuts mental health care, sheriffs say jails overwhelmed

Source: Lee Roop, al.com, August 8, 2016

The state has closed three psychiatric hospitals since 2012 for financial reasons, cutting the number of beds for patients from 740 to 268 — a drop of 64 percent. …. Without available beds, sheriffs talk of searching for charges to find a way to house potentially dangerous individuals. …. “In Alabama, if you (want to) protect someone from themselves, you charge them with harassment and put them in jail,” agreed Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack. But jails are not hospitals, deputies aren’t nurses and this temporary solution often creates new problems for all involved. …. Al.com surveyed 40 out of 67 sheriffs or their chief deputies. Most report a growing problem and lack of training or services. See the percentages for each question below. ….