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News Story
Updated: 02/23/2014 08:00:01AM

Revolving jail door

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SUN PHOTO BY SUE PAQUIN

"Jail is a very short-term solution."
— Capt. Melissa Turney, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office assistant jail commander

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"Jail is not where these people need to be. We’re not treatment providers."
— Maj. Earl A. Goodwyne III, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Detention commander

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"It’s a problem because they have nowhere else to go."
— Sheriff Will Wise, DeSoto County sheriff

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"We’re not going to arrest our way out of a mental health issue."
— Maj. Jim Lilly, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office commander of the Courts and Corrections Services division

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"We do have a drug court and a mental health court ... (but) there aren't enough openings."
— Ronald C. Smith, assistant state attorney and Charlotte County court chief

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"State funding is shrinking. ... The problem we have now is going to get worse."
— Jay Glynn, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care CEO

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"Once they're out of jail, that’s it."
— Capt. Brian Harris, DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office corrections commander

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Mentally ill inmates sometimes refuse their medication, and violent outbursts may result, according to Charlotte County jail commander Earl Goodwyne.

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More than half of inmates nationwide have a mental illness, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics study released in 2006. Local officials say that figure hasn't been improving, as state funding for the mentally ill continues to dwindle.

By ADAM KREGER

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The Charlotte County Jail has an inmate population of around 700. In December, 289 of those inmates had been diagnosed with a mental illness.

“At any time, we’re looking at approximately a third of our inmate population as ... diagnosed and being treated for some sort of mental illness,” Charlotte Count Sheriff’s Maj. Earl A. Goodwyne III, Bureau of Detention commander, said Tuesday at a Sun Roundtable discussion at the Charlotte Sun office in Charlotte Harbor.

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