Thu., July 1, 2010 2:10pm (EDT)

Talks Between DOJ And State Break Down
By Josephine Bennett
Updated: 4 years ago

MACON, Ga.  —  
State mental hospital in Milledgeville
State mental hospital in Milledgeville
Attempts to negotiate a plan between the U.S. Department of Justice and the State to improve mental health care in Georgia have failed.

Back in January the federal government sued the state saying mental health care here violated patient’s civil rights. Complaints included sub-standard hospitals, overuse of sedatives, and not enough patients getting community based care.

Federal officials have now asked a judge to hand over control of the system to an outside monitor. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and other mental health care advocates say specific changes are critical.

“What we need in Georgia and don’t have are community-based mental health services.”

The Justice Department opened its investigation of Georgia’s mental hospitals in 2007 after it was reported that more than 100 patients died mysteriously. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities was one of the few state agencies that received an increase in funding this year.