BALTIMORE — Several Maryland health department officials will appeal a Baltimore judge’s decision to hold them in contempt of court in a lawsuit over a shortage of hospital beds for mentally ill defendants.

A spokeswoman for the Maryland Attorney General’s Office told The Baltimore Sun on Friday that the decision was made this week but the appeal hasn’t been filed.

The Maryland Public Defender’s Office sued the state last year over the amount of time mentally ill defendants have been staying in jail before getting sent to psychiatric hospitals.

Judge Gale Rasin said last month that Dennis Schrader, the state’s acting health secretary, and other health department officials have failed to follow court orders seeking to address the problem. She held them in contempt, and ordered them to take steps to quickly add dozens of beds.


Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com