DeWine Calls for Change at State Psychiatric Hospitals

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s 17-point plan to address gun violence in the state following the recent mass shooting includes freeing up space at state psychiatric hospitals for people threatening violence or suicide.

The Republican governor called on lawmakers to create a process that would allow courts to send people who are facing nonviolent charges to less restrictive treatment centers.

“We have a problem in this state. We have a problem with people who are not violent who have been sent there by a court who could be sent someplace else. These individuals are occupying space that we urgently need today,” DeWine said last month.

The plan follows the Aug. 4 mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District that left nine people dead and more than two dozen injured. The gunman was also killed.

About 97% of the beds in the state’s six psychiatric hospitals are occupied, including beds taken by individuals facing nonviolent criminal charges, the Dayton Daily News reported .

As a result, private hospitals have been seeing more patients who can’t get into a state psychiatric hospital.

DeWine’s plan also pledges to back a “safety protection order” law, also known as a red flag law, which would allow police or family members to seek a court order to seize weapons from those deemed a risk to themselves or others.

Under the governor’s plan, those individuals could potentially be sent to a state psychiatric hospital, if beds are available.