Big Island looks for alternatives to jailing mentally ill - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Big Island looks for alternatives to jailing mentally ill

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii County officials are taking steps to address the incarceration of mentally ill individuals on the Big Island who end up in overcrowded facilities.

West Hawaii Today reports that the County Council passed a resolution Tuesday allowing the county to receive federal grants and support to provide alternatives for nonviolent mentally ill individuals who commit crimes.

Advocates of a new community "Stepping Up" initiative told the council that the program could also draw on Medicare and Medicaid funds to help provide medical services to people who need it.

Warden Peter Cabreros says the module housing mentally inmates at Hawaii Community Correctional Center is designed for 44 inmates, but that the population has reached 100.

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