mental illness

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate has given final approval to a "red flag" bill allowing authorities in Delaware to seize guns from a person deemed by a mental health provider to be a danger to themselves or others.

The measure passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday after unanimous approval by the House last month.

Under the bill, police who are alerted by a mental health provider could immediately ask a Justice of the Peace magistrate for a temporary order requiring the person to surrender any firearms or ammunition if there's probable cause that he or she is dangerous.

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As the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School return to class this week the shooting that left 17 dead has started a firestorm over restricting gun ownership. Delmarva Public Radio Donovan Mack spoke with a number of Salisbury University students on their reaction action to the shooting in this report filed by News Director Don Rush.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Judges are asking Maryland lawmakers for clarity about how long people can be jailed while waiting to be transferred for psychiatric care.

Three judges testified before state lawmakers in Annapolis on Wednesday. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that the judges also are asking who will be responsible, if deadlines pass.

Acting Health Secretary Dennis Schrader is under a judge's contempt order for the shortage of beds and long waits for patients. He also is asking the legislature for guidance.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The upcoming execution of a Virginia inmate has pushed to the forefront the debate over whether people with mental illness should be shielded from the ultimate punishment.

Thirty-five-year-old William Morva is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday for the killings of a hospital security guard and a sheriff's deputy in 2006. The killings came after Morva, who was in jail on attempted robbery charges, was taken to a hospital for treatment.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A group of Virginia lawmakers says there is bipartisan support for reforming the state's mental health care system and the way inmates receive treatment.

Several lawmakers held a news conference Wednesday to discuss reform measures put forward this session. They were joined by family members of Jamycheal Mitchell, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and died in a Portsmouth jail after his arrest for stealing $5 worth of junk food.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware prison officials have reached a tentative settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging that mentally ill prisoners have been subjected to solitary confinement without proper evaluation, monitoring and treatment.

As part of the settlement, the Department of Correction has agreed to undertake steps to better classify, track and care for prisoners with mental health issues and in restrictive housing. Prison officials also have agreed to create a special needs unit at the women's prison in New Castle.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - Officials at a Virginia jail say they have found security footage they thought had been deleted that was recorded outside of the cell of a mentally ill inmate who died last year.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Hampton Roads Regional Jail Assistant Superintendent David L. Simons has declined to release the video recorded outside 24-year-old's cell.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Inmates who said they saw correctional officials abuse a 24-year-old mentally ill man at a Virginia jail before his death say they are now being threatened and mistreated.

Jamycheal Mitchell's family filed a lawsuit last month claiming that correctional officials physically abused and withheld food from him before his August death. Medical examiner said Mitchell died of heart failure accompanied by severe weight loss.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - The Portsmouth chapter of the NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into the death of a mentally ill jail inmate who died while waiting for a bed at a state mental hospital.

NAACP Portsmouth chapter President James Boyd says in a statement that the group is seeking an investigation to ensure that improvements are made after the death of 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell. The Virginian-Pilot  reports that Mitchell was arrested in April after authorities accused him of stealing snacks and a soda from a convenience store.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has approved two bills that are part of a package of gun-control measures proposed by Democratic Gov. Jack Markell in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting last year.

House members voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to approve a bill expanding the ability of authorities to prohibit people with mental health issues from having guns. That bill now goes to the Senate. The legislation establishes a process to keep a person declared by a court to be a danger to himself or others from having access to guns.