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Indiana State Prisons Need To Show What They Are Doing To Help Inmates With Mental Health Issues

A federal judge has ordered the Indiana Department of Correction to appear in court today to explain its plans for improving the treatment of mentally ill prisoners. 

This comes after the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana argued the state doesn't seem to be taking the situation seriously. U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt wants to know what the agency is doing to comply with the order she issued on Dec. 31. 

That was when she found prison agency's treatment of the nearly 6,000 mentally ill inmates in the system was inadequate, and ordered it to do more. In April, prison officials said it was exploring options but cost estimates had been higher than expected. 

It said the changes would be phased in over several years.

About a quarter of the inmates in the Indiana Department of Correction are mentally ill, but the state's two mental health units have room for only about 250 patients.