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Franken Seeks To Expand Mental Health Care

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(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sen. Al Franken is unveiling a bill to increase funding for mental health problems in prisons and jails.

The Minnesota Democrat unveiled the bill Wednesday in Duluth. It would continue federal funding for courts that divert the mentally ill from prison into treatment, and increase training police officers to better handle people with mental health issues.

It would also fund treatment courts for veterans.

Franken says better mental health care could cut expenses in the nation’s criminal justice system and reduce the number of people who re-offend.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has estimated that nearly one-third of the inmates booked into his county’s jails each year suffer from some form of mental illness.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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