Mental illness leading to violence in county jails, per officials

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MORRISON, Ill. (KWQC) - The number of mentally ill inmates in county jails is on the rise, according to officials. Currently, the Whiteside County jail has 81 occupants. Of that number, 42 percent or 32 inmates are considered mentally ill. Sheriff Kelly Wilhelmi said the jail staff does not have the resources to assist these inmates.

"These people range all the way from depression or anxiety to schizophrenia to bipolar-ism and the list goes on and on," Wilhelmi said. "We're not equipped for this thing, we are not equipped to handle these types of people."

Officials said the increase in mentally ill inmates has also led to a rise in violence within the jail. While cameras and audio devices help administrators keep violence to a minimum, Wilhelmi said a solution is needed.

"It has become inherently more violent inside the jail as far as the inmates go, we try to keep that down as far as we can."