Critics call for end to South Dakota mental holds in jail

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) – Jail officials and mental health advocates say people who have mental disorders should not be thrown in jails when they are suffering a mental crisis and the South Dakota law that allows the practice should be overturned.

South Dakota is one of five states, including North Dakota, which allows involuntary mental health holds in jails and juvenile detention centers for up to 24 hours.

Critics say allowing such holds in jails and juvenile detention centers can be traumatizing and could be unconstitutional. Youths on mental health holds at a detention center in Minnehaha County are locked in room with just a mattress, sometimes secured in a suicide vest.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem agrees the law should be repealed and says lawmakers are taking steps to reform mental health services.

AP-WF-02-11-19