Hennepin County Man in Jail for 2 Months Without Committing a Crime

June 06, 2018 02:59 PM

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek wrote a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton asking him to intervene on behalf of a man diagnosed with a severe mental illness, and others like him, who are sitting in county jails but are not facing criminal charges.

Sheriff Stanek told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS 28-year-old, Raymond Traylor Jr., has been in the Hennepin County Jail for two months, but has not received treatment for his mental illness and his condition is getting worse.

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"Raymond Traylor, and hundreds like him across the state, are sitting in local jails and their only crime is having a mental illness," Stanek said. "And, having a severe mental illness like Traylor has, is not a crime and I have repeatedly asked the Minnesota Department of Human Services to move him to the state hospital in St. Peter where he can receive the care he needs, but nothing has changed since he came here April 5."

Court records show Traylor was moved from the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center, in southern Minnesota, to a Bloomington Adult Care Center in late 2017 to continue his care under the supervision of the state.

But, those court records also show Traylor was arrested on a misdemeanor charge and sent to the Hennepin County Jail in early April.  A Hennepin County judge ruled the state cannot charge a mentally ill person with a misdemeanor and ordered the state to move Traylor back to St. Peter for treatment.

Traylor's attorney, Doug McGuire, told KSTP that Minnesota Human Services Commissioner, Emily Piper, has not complied with the court order for over two months now.

"The Commissioner's position in the past has been that jails can give people like Mr. Traylor the medical help they need, which is a complete fallacy," McGuire said.

The court order issued May 25 also stated, however, the court had limited authority in Traylor's case "This Court lacks authority to order the Commissioner of Human Services to place Respondent (Mr. Traylor) within a specific period of time. The Minnesota Court of Appeals in two cases … unambiguously determined that this Court lacks jurisdiction over the Commissioner of Human Services in civil commitment proceedings. Therefore, the Court lacks jurisdiction to order the Commissioner to transfer Respondent.”

Piper was in Duluth speaking at the Minnesota Sheriff's Association and discussed this same topic of how to best handle cases like Traylor's, and other cases, where an individual is diagnosed with a mental illness but incarcerated. 

In her address to the Sheriff's Association, Piper said the rising number of admissions from jails is putting tremendous pressure on the limited capacity at state-operated mental health facilities and she expressed desire that the Department of Human Services and sheriff's offices statewide work more closely and cooperatively to find solutions to this shared probelm.

Even though Piper was not available for an interview, she did issue a statement:

We do everything in our power to admit patients to our facilities but those admissions must be done in a safe manner. All admissions must wait until a medically appropriate bed is available. It's a frustrating situation for everyone involved when a bed isn't immediately available, especially when beds are occupied by people who don't need them but who lack a county placement. Meanwhile, we always offer medical consultation and other support to help manage patients in jail.

Credits

Jay Kolls

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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