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Innovations In The Criminal Justice System For Individuals With Mental Illness

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Innovations In The Criminal Justice System For Individuals With Mental Illness

May 25, 2021 8:03 pm

A 2014 study by the Treatment Advocacy Center* states that the number of mentally ill individuals in prisons and jails continues to climb, as does the severity of the inmates’ illnesses. Among the deleterious effects of being imprisoned while mentally ill are possible deterioration of the inmate’s psychiatric condition if they do not receive appropriate treatment, and high rates of recidivism. During the Virtual Forum, we heard from two experts in the field of criminal justice for offenders with mental illnesses: The Honorable Lawrence G. Brown, Judge, Superior Court of Sacramento County, who presides over the Master Criminal Calendar, Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Reentry Court, and Prop 36 Three Strike Re-Sentencing in Sacramento County, California; and Dean Barker, Manager of Forensic Services for the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board and Coordinator of the Crisis Intervention Team in Hampton, Virginia. These professionals discussed the special programs they are involved in that aim to ensure that individuals with mental illness receive the help they need, not just jail time.

*Treatment Advocacy Center (2014). The treatment of persons with mental illness in prisons and jails: A state survey. Accessed online July 12, 2017 and available at http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/storage/documents/treatment-behind-bars/treatment-behind-bars.pdf


May 25, 2021
8:03 pm