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Missouri Chief Justice asks lawmakers for more mental health resources to help court system

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s top judge is asking the General Assembly for more mental health resources and security services for juvenile detention facilities.

In the annual State of the Judiciary speech, Missouri Chief Justice Mary Russell said jails have become the state’s largest mental health facilities. She said some inmates wait months for a mental competency assessment, which is why she told lawmakers the state can no longer afford to kick the can down the road.

“All areas of the state are in dire need of mental health services for defendants,” Russell told the House chamber Wednesday. “These problems compound in our communities, taking a toll on law enforcement officers, jails, our hospitals and our nursing homes as everyone struggles for solutions.”

The full article is available at

(Story by Emily Manley, Kevin S. Held,

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