State Pushes For Longer Treatment Window For Mentally Ill Inmates

Criminal defense attorney, Iris Eytan, was recently quoted in an article on, by Allison Sherry, on the current situation regarding mental health inmates and the request by state officials asking for 150 days to treat mentally ill people while they sit in jail before trial.

Mental health advocates and public defenders don’t like mentally ill people being treated in jail — particularly those facing low-level criminal charges. They say the best place for them is out from behind bars and in the community mental health care system, but the state hasn’t worked hard enough to set up those channels.

Advocates are also opposing the 150-day timeframe proposed by state officials. They say that’s too long to sit in jail — and perhaps even be forcibly medicated — without being convicted of anything.

They are asking lawmakers to amend that to 60 days.

“We agreed on some timeframes that were constitutionally permissible in our minds, but still a little lenient,” said Iris Eytan, a lawyer representing Disability Law Colorado, which has settled three lawsuits against the Department of Human Services since 2008. “They’re in violation of the agreement now.”

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