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Why are Missouri patients waiting so long in jail?

Currently 253 people are in Missouri jails who haven't been convicted of a crime, still waiting to be transferred to a state hospital for mental health treatment. Those patients are supposed to receive rehabilitative mental health services that allow them to become competent to stand trial, but instead they're languishing behind bars — often in solitary confinement.

Missourians who are arrested, deemed unfit to stand trial and ordered into mental health treatment are now detained in jail for an average of eight months before being transferred to a mental health facility. And that wait time used to be even longer.

KCUR's Nomin Ujiyediin spoke with Missouri Independent reporter Clara Bates about why wait times are so long for people who haven't been convicted of a crime, and what the state is doing in response.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Paris Norvell, Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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Madeline Fox is the assistant news director for KCUR. Email me at madeline@kcur.org.
Paris Norvell is a freelance podcast producer for KCUR Studios,
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