SPRINGFIELD — Staying healthy is a good way to stay out of prison. That’s the thinking behind a bill to drive outgoing Illinois prison inmates to Medicaid.

“At least 15 percent of the people in our state prisons and jails have a serious mental illness,” said Mental Health America of Illinois’ Mark Heyrman, talking up the bill in a House committee. “That means over 8,000 people in the Department of Corrections have a mental illness, and at least 3,000 in our 99 county jails have mental illnesses.”

The bill’s sponsor says the Illinois Department of Human Services would give inmates about to be released the opportunity to apply for Medicaid.

HB 3270 has passed the House Human Services Committee.

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