allgov.com Florida’s system for preparing mentally ill defendants for criminal court is “the definition of insanity,” according to a former state Cabinet officer. Each year, the state spends at least $50 million coaching those with mental health issues on how to appear in court so that they can be deemed competent to stand trial. The cost per patient averages $53,000, according to an investigation by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. For this investment, the result usually is a conviction, though most nonviolent offenders never spend a day in prison. They do wind up spending weeks, sometimes months, in mental hospitals getting medicated and coached while living among violent offenders.
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