Judge rules Mississippi violated the rights of people with mental illness

Judge rules Mississippi violated the rights of people with mental illness
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Mississippi has consistently violated the rights of its residents with mental illnesses and a special master will be appointed to help the state comply with federal law, a judge reportedly ruled Wednesday. 

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeve's decision follows a four-week-long trial in which the Justice Department argued that the state's antiquated hospitals violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, Mississippi Today reports.  

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"The United States’ experts provided dozens of examples of individuals who were unnecessarily hospitalized or hospitalized too long because they were excluded from community-based services,” Reeves wrote, according to the outlet.

“Some of the persons the United States’ experts analyzed for this suit were still hospitalized when the experts interviewed them.”

Reeves ordered the state and federal government to each suggest three possible names to serve as the special master, NBC News reports

State Attorney General Jim Hood, the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor, used the decision to criticize Republican leaders in a statement issued after the decision. 

In the reported statement, Hood says he's been "warning the Legislature" about underfunding community mental healthcare since February 2013. 

"The Legislature continuously chose to put money towards big corporate tax cuts rather than meet the needs of those among us who need our assistance," he said. "The result has been a lawsuit and a federal court order that will cost us more.”