Knesset Panel to Debate Imprisonment of the Mentally Unfit

Following Haarez report: Chairwoman of the Knesset Comptroller's Committee demands that the problem be urgently addressed in a letter to the Welfare and Social Services Ministry.

An inmate in Ayalon Prison.
Daniel Tchetchik

Following an exposé by Haaretz, lawmaker Karin Elharar said on Thursday she would convene the legislature's Comptroller's Committee, which she chairs, to discuss a lack of rehabilitation facilities for Israelis who are jailed despite being mentally unfit to stand trial.

Attorneys say that for lack of appropriate care options, about 20 people with impaired mental facilities either due to brain damage or autism are imprisoned each year in contravention of Welfare Ministry recommendatons.

Many of these people do not meet the legal criteria of mental impairment and are therefore not placed in an appropriate institutional setting.

In a letter to Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz, Elharar demanded on Wednesday that the problem be urgently addressed.

"The fact that today there is no institution to provide treatment for these people is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently," she said.