Maryland Officials in Contempt of Court Over Bed Shortage

BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore judge has held five Maryland officials in contempt of court due to the amount of time that mentally ill defendants have been staying in jail before getting sent to psychiatric hospitals.

Retired Judge Gale Rasin on Thursday ordered officials to open dozens of beds at psychiatric hospitals by the end of the year.

She says Dennis Schrader, the state’s acting health secretary, and top health department officials have failed to follow court orders seeking to address the problem.

The Maryland Public Defender’s Office sued the state last year over the issue.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Schrader said after the court hearing in Baltimore that he already has plans for 95 additional beds at state hospitals by early next year.

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