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A Criminal Solution

Determining whether someone is mentally fit to stand trial in Pennsylvania often traps them in the very place making them worse — jail. This is the story of one woman’s fight to get out.

by Danielle Ohl and Brittany Hailer
Spotlight PA and The Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism
Photos by Nate Smallwood for Spotlight PA and PINJ
A Spotlight PA and Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism investigation found the criminal competency system can strand people with serious mental health needs in jail, where their conditions may worsen; prolongs detention for low-level crimes experts say are themselves often a symptom of mental illness; and is so broken, some defense attorneys avoid it altogether.
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