Covering Louisiana

Aug 14, 2014 6:36 PM by AP

Suit: many in jails because state hospital full

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A lawsuit says scores of people found not guilty by reason of insanity are being held in Louisiana jails, where they cannot get the treatment they need.

The class-action suit was filed Thursday against state health Secretary Kathy Kliebert and the Department of Health and Hospitals. The plaintiffs are five men in the Jefferson Parish jail and one in the St. Tammany Parish jail.

They were found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges including obscenity, aggravated arson and battery on a correctional official. All were committed to the state forensic mental hospital in Jackson.

Attorney Ronald Lospennato of the Advocacy Center in New Orleans says he doesn't know how many other people are jailed because that hospital is full. He believes there are at least 25.

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