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Mental Health Bill Could Include Washoe County Jail

A Nevada lawmaker wants to include the Washoe County Detention Center in a potential state takeover of mental health care services in the state's largest jails. 

The takeover proposal was initially intended only for Clark County's jails, but assemblyman Elliott Anderson has proposed adding Washoe County to Assembly Bill 421.

The proposal comes after a Reno Gazette Journal investigation found a dramatic spike in inmate deaths in the Washoe County jail, finding the suicide rate to be five times higher than the national average. 

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Assemblyman James Ohrenschall, D-Las Vegas, was the sponsor of the bill, and said mentally ill jail inmates could be stabilized more quickly if they encounter the same mental health care provider inside the jail that is treating them outside of the jail. 

AB 421 currently applies only to Southern Nevada.