24-hour crisis center designed to divert people from jail, hospitals

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders. 

As reported by the Triad City Beat:

Forsyth County officials are working on a plan to divert people with mental health and substance abuse challenges from the local jail. A new 24-hour crisis center to be operated by the regional mental health authority could provide an alternative to help offenders get treatment.

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Mentally Ill Lives Matter

PfCJR CORE ISSUE:  Decriminalization of Mental Health and Addictive Disorders.

The Huffington Post published an opinion piece by DJ Jaffe entitled “Mentally Ill Lives Matter.”  Among the interesting points made:

  • At least half the people shot and killed by police each year are believed to have mental health problems.
  • Criminal justice leaders propose greater use of Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), called “Laura’s Law” in California and “Kendra’s Law” in New York.
  • The just-passed federal budget includes $15 million for states to expand AOT programs.

Click HERE to read the entire article.

Interested in supporting long-lasting, meaningful criminal justice reform?  Click here to JOIN US.

Untreated Mentally Ill 16 Times More Likely to Be Killed By Police, Study Says

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE: Decriminalization of Mental Illness and Addictive Disorders.

A recent report entitled Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encounters highlights the prevalence of fatal police encounters among individuals with mental illness, and makes recommendations for criminal justice reform. 

“By all accounts – official and unofficial – a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness. At this rate, the risk of being killed during a police incident is 16 times greater for individuals with untreated mental illness than for other civilians approached or stopped by officers.”

Recommendations for systemic change include:

  • TREAT THE UNTREATED.
  • ACCURATELY COUNT AND REPORT the number of fatal police encounters.
  • ACCURATELY COUNT AND REPORT all incidents involving use of deadly force by law enforcement.
  • SYSTEMATICALLY IDENTIFY the role of mental illness in fatal police shootings.

If you would like to join Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform in supporting these recommendations, CLICK HERE.

 

#GivingTuesday

WHAT IS #GIVINGTUESDAY?

Choose Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform for your #GivingTuesday!  All donations are tax-deductible and can be made at https://pfcjreform.org/donate/

We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.

 

 

Grant provides Vivitrol for county jail inmates

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Provision of adequate physical and mental healthcare to inmates.

MANSFIELD – More Richland County Jail inmates will have access to medication-assisted treatment for opiate addictions as a result of a new grant from the state.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services this week announced $3 million in grant awards to support 23 projects benefiting 38 counties in an effort to connect offenders with treatment. The goal is to reduce the number of criminal offenders with untreated mental illness and substance use disorders who continually cycle through county jails.

Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Services executive director Joe Trolian said the $148,000 Criminal Justice-Behavioral Health Linkages grant will not only help continue and enhance existing services like counseling and case management for current and former inmates but also add Vivitrol treatment to the lineup of services.

The agency has offered Vivitrol to only a limited number of people since 2014 because funding for the medication and the protocols and treatments associated with it were not available.

Statistics show people who attempt to overcome opiate addictions by quitting cold turkey have a much lower success rate than those who use medication assisted treatment, Trolian said.

 

CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Why Connecticut may try 21-year-olds as juveniles

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE: Criminal Justice Reform to Identify and Divert At-Risk Juveniles. 

When the Connecticut legislature voted to raise the age of those eligible to be tried in its juvenile justice system from 16 to 18 in 2007, there was widespread skepticism.

Police chiefs and judicial officials in the state expressed concerns that the measures would overburden the juvenile justice system and cost the state $40 million a year. In the eight years since the age was raised, Connecticut has seen its juvenile crime rate and juvenile incarceration rate decrease significantly – and at a much lower cost than projected.

The state now wants to go even further, as Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) urges raising the age of the juvenile justice system’s jurisdiction from 18 to 21. He has also proposed reforms aimed at young adults – up to age 25 – that would give some juvenile system protections, such as confidentiality and the opportunity to have their records expunged, to young adults who commit less-serious offenses.

In an address at a University of Connecticut School of Law symposium in early November, Governor Malloy said he wants to “begin a statewide conversation” around the issue, and experts say the conversation could go nationwide.

This “Raise the Age” movement has been gaining momentum around the country, fueled by new scientific research suggesting that current juvenile and adult justice systems don’t properly reflect the modern path from adolescence to adulthood.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

Kids Who Face Criminal Charges Are More Likely To Die Young

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Reform of the Juvenile Justice System to Identify and Divert At-Risk Youth. 

Young offenders who are transferred to adult court are three times more likely to die early than someone of the same age in the general population, according to a longitudinal study published this month in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. “Any involvement with the criminal justice system increased the chance of mortality,” lead study author Matthew Aalsma, an associate professor of pediatrics at Indiana University, told The Huffington Post.

The more severe the punishment a youth offender faced, the greater the likelihood he would die early, Aalsma explained. Most of the time, he noted, the kids died by homicide.

The study compared electronic criminal justice records and health records of almost 50,000 10- to 18-year-old offenders in Marion County, Indiana, between 1999 and 2011, finding a direct link between involvement in the justice system and early death.

Read the full article by clicking HERE.

 

As city jail deaths rise, will reforms help?

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Provision of adequate access to physical and psychiatric health care for current inmates.

According to an article in the Daily News section of www.philly.com:

* Seventeen inmates have died already this year, the most since 2007, when 20 died. This year’s dead included one man murdered allegedly by his cellmate, two men who committed suicide, one man whose cause of death remains undetermined and 13 others whose deaths were ruled “natural,” caused by health problems or addictions. The decade’s toll: 168 inmate deaths since 2005, according to prison records.

*  Meanwhile, the inmate population has fallen from a peak of nearly 10,000 in 2009 to about 8,000 today. Philly still has the highest incarceration rate of the nation’s 10 largest cities.

*  Six inmates who died this year – most charged with misdemeanors – could have gotten out of jail for $500 or less, including Parks and another alleged shoplifter, Erin O’Malley, who was held a week on just $100 cash bail, records show.

“The bad luck of the draw is that some people can’t afford to pay even low bail. So then they stay there not because we think they’re too dangerous to be released or won’t show up at trial, but because they can’t afford to pay even a low bail. For those people to die [in custody] is really problematic,” said attorney David Rudovsky, a leading prison reformer.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20151103_As_city_jail_deaths_rise__will_reforms_help_.html#eJowdpUB1flwXlbC.99

Police Leaders Join Call to Cut Prison Rosters

More than 130 police chiefs, prosecutors and sheriffs — including some of the most prominent law enforcement officials in the country — are adding their clout to the movement to reduce the nation’s incarceration rate.

Asserting that “too many people are behind bars that don’t belong there,” the officials plan to announce on Wednesday that they have formed a group to push for alternatives to arrests, reducing the number of criminal laws and ending mandatory minimum prison sentences. Members of the group are scheduled to meet Thursday with President Obama.

The group includes the police chiefs of the nation’s largest cities, including William J. Bratton of New York, Charlie Beck of Los Angeles and Garry F. McCarthy of Chicago, as well as prosecutors from around the country, including Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.

Read the entire New York Times article by clicking HERE.

PfCJR – Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform Officially Receives Non-Profit Status From Internal Revenue Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PfCJR – Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform Officially Receives Non-Profit Status From Internal Revenue Service

Less than 3 months after its initial launch, Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform. Inc. (PfCJR) has officially received 501(c)(3) non-profit status from Internal Revenue Service.

 

(DECATUR – July 29, 2015) – Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, Inc. (PfCJR) is kicking off its first round of major fundraising after officially receiving 501(c)(3) non-profit status from the Internal Revenue Service. This organization’s mission statement is “Physicians advocating to eliminate the damaging health consequences that can result from negative interactions with the criminal justice system.” PfCJR was launched to a great response on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) on May 11th, 2015 and was subsequently incorporated in the State of Georgia on July 8th, 2015. The receipt of 501(c)(3) status represents the first major step in establishing PfCJR as a lasting force in the effort to obtain real, lasting criminal justice reform in the United States.

Edjah Nduom, co-founder of PfCJR stated “This is an important landmark for us, as we continue to build partnerships and attract donations that will help us sustain our operations and help spread the word that this is a vital issue. We are extremely grateful for those who donated to our initial crowdfunding drive, as that provided the funds that we needed to establish our website and pay the fees associated with 501(c)(3) status.”

Having received a robust response to the organizational launch, this designation allows Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform to further expand fundraising efforts, as non-profit status is likely to attract more significant donations and will allow supporters to deduct their membership fees. The PfCJR website, www.pfcjreform.org, has previously been launched and is already attracting significant web traffic from physicians, like-minded organizations and allied supporters in learning more about the intersection of healthcare and criminal justice reform.

About PfCJR:

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) was founded by a group of physicians who were struck by the myriad of ways that negative encounters with the criminal justice system lead to detrimental health consequences. We firmly believe that changing the interaction between the criminal justice system and individuals of targeted populations will ultimately lead to improved health of targeted communities. As such, our members and supporters have made the commitment to be leaders of criminal justice reform by using medical expertise to:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of the bidirectional relationship between health and the criminal justice system
  • Serve as a fund of knowledge, education and training for local, state and national health and justice systems
  • Lobby for criminal justice reform surrounding our core issues