PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — How long should people charged with crimes stay at Oregon State Hospital?

It’s a question that’s had Oregon Health Authority and Disability Rights Oregon locked in a months-long legal struggle, and a federal judge recently announced that the fight isn’t ending anytime soon.

Oregon’s three major hospital systems and Disability Rights Oregon sued the OHA and the state hospital last year, claiming they weren’t moving people into state treatment facilities within the required seven-day window, and warehousing them in community hospitals instead.

That started the legal struggle that’s still going on.

“We can not throw people in jail and throw away the key because they have a mental health condition and they need treatment, the constitution doesn’t allow it,” said Emily Cooper, the legal director for Disability Rights Oregon.

As part of an order handed down by a federal judge last year, people charged with crimes will stay at Oregon State Hospital for less time, so that the hospital can admit more people faster.

In September, the judge decided people who have misdemeanors will stay no more than 90 days, while those with a felony stay no longer than six months and no one will stay more than a year. The judge ruled Tuesday that those limits will stay in place, for now.

Billy Williams, the lawyer representing the DAs (not sure what this means) told KOIN 6 News that his clients argue the judge’s order on how long people can be held for mental health issues put the public in danger.

“The mental health system is in a crisis in the state of Oregon. It’s so important and intertwined with the criminal justice system,” he said. “It’s all intertwined.”

In the order handed down by the judge, he said alternatives proposed by both sides had been tried and failed.

Oregon State Hospital spokesperson, Amber Shoebridge told KOIN 6 News that they will “continue to follow the requirements laid out in the federal court order while also offering a safe and stable environment for patient recovery.”