A judge should intervene in Mississippi’s mental well-being care system, a United States Justice Department lawyer argued, saying the state has moved far too slowly to offer community alternatives to mental hospitals.
“They could be living in additional integrated settings. However, they by no means get the chance, because the state doesn’t make the necessary providers available, lawyer Patrick Holkins stated in closing arguments following a monthlong trial. “That’s not just a policy failure, however a civil rights violation.”
Lawyers for the state, though, advised U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves that the Justice Division had was not successful in proving the alleged violations of the United States with Disabilities Act.
“There was no proof that anyone was unnecessarily institutionalized in Mississippi,” Shelson fought for the state.
Both sides will get one more opportunity to argue their place in post-trial briefs due in three weeks. Then Reeves, who heard the proof without a jury, should decide.
The Justice Department counters that Mississippi might afford more services if it filed more claims with the state-federal Medicaid insurance program, and argued that appeals courts have ruled since Olmstead that a state needs a working plan to say fundamental alteration defense.
“No plan exists in Mississippi, only one who’s comprehensive and effectively working,” Holkins mentioned.
Shelson closed by saying Mississippi needs more time to make progress on its own.
“What this case about, your honor, is the pace of change,” he mentioned.
However, the federal lawyers rejected that argument, saying the state was barely moving until the trial grew near and that individuals are suffering unnecessarily.