(Associated Press) - Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders is pledging to take a fresh look at the way the state treats those with serious mental illnesses and debilitating substance abuse problems who get caught in the criminal justice system.

Sudders tells The Associated Press that the Baker administration is reviewing the population at Bridgewater State Hospital. a medium-security prison housing men involved with the criminal justice system who are diagnosed as mentally ill. The state wants to see if some should instead be in the care of the Department of Mental Health.

Sudders says she's also moving ahead with a plan to create beds at Taunton State Hospital for women who have been civilly committed at MCI-Framingham, even though they've committed no crimes.

Activists for the mentally ill say the changes are overdue.

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