State agrees to get jail inmates into treatment faster

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DENVER | The Colorado Department of Human Services has agreed to speed up how soon people with severe mental illness who have been arrested get into treatment.

Colorado Public Radio reports state officials signed off on a federal court agreement last week, expecting to pay out $10 million in fines this year as it works toward compliance.

The state has agreed to eventually move the sickest inmates out of jails and into hospitals within seven days. It aims to move the less sick people out of jails within 21 days.

Under the agreement, the state plans create a triage system to deliver mental health assessments and treatment in jail.

Department executive director Michelle Barnes says the fines the state expects to pay will enter a pool supporting community-based mental health services.