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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Officials: State needs to invest in mental health facilities

Kootenai County Sheriff Deputy Ralph Burns  counts inmates before transporting them from jail to court in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Monday, Aug. 13, 2007. (Holly Pickett / The Spokesman-Review)
Kootenai County Sheriff Deputy Ralph Burns counts inmates before transporting them from jail to court in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Monday, Aug. 13, 2007. (Holly Pickett / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

POCATELLO, Idaho – A recent death of a jail inmate shows why the state needs to invest more in mental health care and add beds in secure mental health facilities, Idaho officials said.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen and Prosecutor Stephen Herzog said Monday that the death of inmate Lance Quick last Friday is an example of what can happen when people in need of mental health care are instead locked in jail, the Idaho State Journal reported.

Quick was arrested Dec. 8 on misdemeanor driving under the influence, Nielsen said. Quick had a mental illness diagnosis and was off his medication, Nielsen said.

Quick was too incoherent to be arraigned in court, and Nielsen’s staff made several calls to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare inquiring about a bed for him in a mental health facility, but to no avail, Nielsen said.

Following a subsequent civil hearing hosted at the jail, in which Quick was reportedly found to be incompetent and a danger to himself and others, a bed was located for him in Blackfoot-based State Hospital South. Quick went into cardiac arrest while waiting to be transported to mental health facility, and medical staff deputies at the jail performed CPR, Nielsen said.

Quick was transported by ambulance to Portneuf Medical Center, where he died. Quick was 40.

“Enough is enough,” Nielsen said. “We’ve had a death in the jail. What else is it going to take to get (mentally ill) people taken care of properly?”

Family members of Quick declined to comment.

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