The state is scrambling to find additional money and resources to move hundreds of mentally ill inmates out of county jails and in to proper treatment facilities.
The issue came to a head last month when a judge threatened to jail the secretary for the Department of Children and Families herself if she didn’t move the inmates into treatment within 15 days as required by law.
Jeb Bush has since directed DCF to find $5 million for 85 additional treatment beds. DCF is also picking up the tab for more prescription meds now. But the governor is still angry the judge took a heavy hand.
“With all due respect to judges pounding their chests in their big black robes up and on top of a big chair and, you know, looking down and castigating Secretary Hadi. They’re not governor. They’re not the secretary. They’re not the legislature. There is a separation of powers and I just, I’m not a lawyer, but I think there’s an appropriate role for the judiciary and I think some of the temper tantrums that have taken place have gone too far.”
The head of DCF finds out next month if her efforts to solve the crisis will be enough to keep her out of jail. Lucy Hadi is scheduled to appear in a Pinellas County courtroom on December 14.