Mississippi has violated the rights of its residents with mental illnesses on a regular basis and a special master will be appointed to help the state comply with federal law, a judge reportedly ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeve’s decision follows a four-week-long trial in which the Justice Department argued that the state’s outdated hospitals breached the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“The United States’ experts provided dozens of examples of individuals who were hospitalized or hospitalized too long unnecessarily because they were excluded from community-based services,” Reeves wrote, according to the outlet.
“Some of the persons the United States’ experts analyzed for this suit were still hospitalized when the experts met them.”
Reeves ordered the state and federal government to each suggest three possible names to serve as the special master.
State Attorney General Jim Hood, the Democratic nominee for Mississippi governor, used the decision to condemn Republican leaders in a statement issued after the decision.
In the reported statement, Hood says he’s been “alerting the Legislature” about underfunding community mental healthcare since February 2013.
“The Legislature repeatedly chose to put money towards big corporate tax cuts rather than meet the needs of those among us who need our assistance,” he said. “The result has been a lawsuit and a federal court order that will cost us more.”