Charleston, WV (AP) -- A Kanawha County Judge wants the problem of crowded conditions at state mental hospitals addressed within the next six weeks.
After two days of testimony, Judge Duke Bloom said today he wants the state and petitioning lawyers to enter into a mediation process as soon as possible.
Bloom also set a date in June to hear the lawyers' reports on the two days of testimony and evidence, along with their proposed remedies for the problem.
Bloom called the evidence he heard "startling."
Conditions at two mental hospitals in Huntington and Weston have been crowded for years.
Advocates say it's because funding and support for community-based services like group homes has been cut.
State officials say they're already taking steps to address the crowding, such as by adding more beds to the facilities.
(Copyright 2009 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
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