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State considers overhaul of offenders' mental health system

The current system for dealing with mentally ill people who commit crimes is, by all accounts, broken. And expensive: It costs Florida taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year.

Now, nearly three years after Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger sued the DCF over its lack of mental health beds for criminals, the Legislature is close to overhauling Florida's treatment of the mentally ill. If the proposed legislation becomes law, Florida would become the first state to take such an innovative approach, Leifman said.

And in a recession year when saving money is at the top of lawmakers' priority list, the changes could save the state tens of millions in taxpayer dollars. (story here)