Mental health option hits snag

Grothman wants to bottle up the bill to expand treatment alternatives and diversion programs to people with mental illness, but the bill could still pass over his objections. That’s because, aside from Grothman, the idea has overwhelming support.

Larry, here at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, left the facility this past December on supervised release. He was confined for 19 years, most of them after he completed his criminal sentence for a sexual assault. He said he considers the commitment law “double jeopardy,” as offenders face a civil trial after they complete their criminal sentences. Sand Ridge officials asked that the Center not publish the last names of the offenders to whom it granted access, due to concerns about medical privacy.

Wisconsin freeing more sex offenders from mental lockup

Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons. The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought.

Bonnie Richardson, who was released in 2012 after spending time in prison and jail, now receives mental health care at Shalom Holistic Health Services in Stoughton.

Mentally ill ex-inmates lack treatment, meds

Despite the wake-up call sounded nationwide by recent mass shootings, huge gaps remain in how Wisconsin treats people with mental illnesses who run afoul of the law. State and county officials blame a shortage of psychiatrists, growing demand for services and high medication costs.

Report: Illinois county jail inspections go unenforced

Last year, the Center’s Rory Linnane, Tegan Wendland and Kate Golden leafed through hundreds of pages of Wisconsin county jail inspections, examining the quality of mental health care. A new report from the Center’s collaborators at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shows that state’s jail inspection system is also riddled with problems.

Inmate at La Crosse County jail

Gaps remain in jails’ suicide prevention

Since 2003, 52 Wisconsin county jail inmates have taken their own lives. Department of Corrections jail inspector Nancy Thelen said that generally, Wisconsin’s 72 county-run jails are doing “a very good job with their suicide watches.”

But a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism review of the counties’ most recent jail inspection records found that at least one-third of them had, like Monroe County, been cited for problems with their suicide prevention efforts.

Inmate at La Crosse County jail

Ignored and underfunded, mental health care thin at county jails

Key findings:
• Wisconsin’s county-run jails are overloaded with people with mental illness — but services are largely inadequate.
• The state Department of Corrections is charged with oversight but does not evaluate the quality of jails’ mental health care.
• For nearly a quarter-century, the Legislature has required the DOC to collect and summarize annual reports on jails’ mental health care, but most jails have not provided the information, and the DOC acknowledges it has not been asking for them.
• One-third of Wisconsin’s jails have been cited for inadequate suicide prevention efforts.

Resources for veterans

A number of organizations, including Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection, Dryhootch and Disabled American Veterans, provide job assistance and support for Wisconsin’s veterans.