Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, Inc. (www.pfcjreform.org) is calling for the federal government to require Implicit Racial Bias Training for police departments nationwide as a condition of eligibility for federal grant funding.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION. We need 100,000 signatures in the next 30 days at which time the White House will respond to our request, which means this petition must go viral. Please help us make that happen.
At least 9 people were killed last week as a result of our policing crisis. CDC data shows that Native Americans, Blacks, and Latinos are killed during police interactions at higher rates than Whites. Perceived criminality and implicit racial bias are significant drivers of this problem.
Research shows that police who are made aware of their implicit biases are motivated and able to implement unbiased policing behavior.
The federal government should immediately require all police departments to implement implicit racial bias training for their officers.
July 11, 2016 – Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, Inc. (PfCJR) which advocates to eliminate the damaging health consequences that can result from negative interactions with the criminal justice system, is calling for the federal government to make funds available to local police departments across the country to provide implicit racial bias testing to their officers, and measure the training’s effect on violent interactions with the public.
In response to the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith and Alva Braziel which occurred over the last week, Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform hosted a heavily-attended open conference call to action during which Drs. Edjah Nduom and Nzinga A. Harrison, M.D., Founder and Co-Founder of Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, unveiled a fourth core issue for the organization: Reduction of violent encounters between law enforcement professionals and the general public.
Officer Damion Polite of City of Houston Police Department spoke to the group. He praised the advocacy efforts of the group and emphasized the similarities between physician work and police work — seeing people during a crisis, wanting to be of service. He emphasized that police officers also want to see an end to fatal encounters. He noted that one big difference existed between the two groups — in general, people trust their physicians, while in general, people fear police officers. He emphasized the community-based programs that City of Houston Police Department have enacted in attempts to integrate with the communities they serve such as the Teen and Police Service Academy (TAPS) and others which can be found on their website. Officer Polite told the group, he believes that it is those programs that account for a low incident of fatal encounters despite the fact that his department patrols the most violent neighborhoods in the city. He closed by asking the group to continue to be supportive to police officers for training needs especially related to managing individuals with mental illness and understanding the fear and lack of trust that many have in the police.
Data shows that blacks and native americans are at higher risk of being killed during interactions with police officers than other racial/ethnic groups. Perceived criminality and implicit racial bias are significant drivers of this problem.
Individuals who are made aware of their implicit biases are motivated and able to implement unbiased behaviors
The first initiative of PfCJR’s new taskforce will be the creation of a petition to be delivered to the white house calling for the federal government to make funds available to local police departments for the provision of implicit racial bias testing to police officers and research to study the results of the training. Members and Fellows of PfCJR will be notified when the petition is available and are encouraged to sign and circulate. Click here to join PfCJR.
The full recorded video of the Open Conference Call to Action can be watched by clicking here.
PfCJR OPEN CONFERENCE CALL MONDAY, JULY 11, 2016 AT 9:00PM EST
In the last four days, this country has watched a devastating series of tragedies unfold. We watched police shoot Alton Sterling at point blank range while pinned to the ground. We watched Philando Castile die after being shot four times by a police officer in front of his fiancée and daughter. We watched Dallas police officers massacred even as they seeked to protect citizens at a peaceful protest. All of these have served to underscore the urgency of acting NOW to begin combatting the forces that are driving these events. Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform invites you to join us on an open conference call this Monday, July 11, 2016 at 9:00pm EST. You do not need to be a physician to join either the call or the organization. We recognize that we need the unified voices of all allies if we are to effect meaningful, lasting change. Click the graphic above for more details about the call. If you haven’t already, please join us at www.pfcjreform.org/join so we can keep you informed of updates. Please spread the message far and wide. We need as many voices as possible.
Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are dead, joining a long roll call of black people killed by officials acting in the name of public safety. And so the nation now begins a process so familiar as to have become rote. Read the full article here.
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, Inc. (PfCJR) is a group of physicians advocating to eliminate the damaging health consequences that can result from negative interactions with the criminal justice system. Alton and Philando have suffered the ultimate of damaging health consequences — death. Our website has been inundated with visits. Our membership has nearly doubled in the last two days. Physicians are ready to speak out, and we are ready to lead change.
Please know that even if you are not a physician, we need your voice as an allied supporter. It is our duty to use our expertise and our passion to effect true, meaningful, lasting criminal justice reform in this country.
You will be hearing from us soon with specific steps for how to get involved. Go to www.pfcjreform.org/join to stay informed.
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE: Juvenile justice reform to identify and divert at-risk youth.
Isolation in juvenile detention centers persists despite ample data demonstrating the traumatizing consequences to youth who often already have been traumatized. Dr. Brittany Raffa writes a poignant piece that was published in the December 1, 2015 issue of Family Practice News regarding the practice. Highlights:
Youth are kept in isolation for several days, with a vague definition by staff on the limit of “several days.”
While in isolation or segregation – whatever it is called – mental illness and posttraumatic stress disorder are exacerbated. Youth do not participate in school classes, and they are barred from the daily hour of physical activity.
More than 50% of all youths’ suicides in juvenile facilities occurred while young people were isolated alone in their rooms, and … more than 60% of young people who committed suicide in custody had a history of being held in isolation.”
PORTLAND, Ore. — The 911 caller had reported a man with a samurai sword, lunging at people on the waterfront.
It was evening, and when the police arrived, they saw the man pacing the beach and called to him. He responded by throwing a rock at the embankment where they stood.
They shouted to him from a sheriff’s boat; he threw another rock. They told him to drop the sword; he said he would kill them. He started to leave the beach, and after warning him, they shot him in the leg with a beanbag gun. He turned back, still carrying the four-foot blade.
In another city — or in Portland itself not that long ago — the next step would almost certainly have been a direct confrontation and, had the man not put down the weapon, the use of lethal force.
But the Portland Police Bureau, prodded in part by the 2012 findings of a Justice Department investigation, has spent years putting in place an intensive training program and protocols for how officers deal with people with mental illness.
Three state juvenile lockups that have been plagued by training and operational problems as officials struggled to deal with a more violent population of incarcerated youths have been selected to participate in a national project designed to improve conditions.
David Reilly, executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, announced Monday that the Giddings State School, Evins Regional Juvenile Center in Edinburg and the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart will be included in the 18-month program.
Three other agencies across the country will also participate: Florida Department of Juvenile Justice; Massachusetts Department of Youth Services and StarrVista, Inc. in Wayne County, Michigan.
The project is being overseen by the national Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators and the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University.
Reilly said the project at the three Texas lockups will include training and technical assistance to help his agency improve educational and rehabilitation programming, behavioral management and health care, and transition planning to ensure success for youths after they are released from custody.
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) Strategy: RESEARCH PROMOTION
(Dec. 3, 2015) — Richard Hartley, an associate professor and chair with The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Department of Criminal Justice is to receive $186,157 from a $761K grant awarded to Missouri State University, under the direction of co-investigator Julie Baldwin. The grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to conduct the first multi-site evaluation of Veterans Treatment Courts. Highlights:
Each year, thousands of veterans wind up in the criminal justice system for a variety of reasons. But Veterans Treatment Courts, or VTCs, are designed to help divert eligible military veteran offenders who may grapple with mental health issues, substance abuse or homelessness from the traditional criminal justice system into appropriate treatment services. These services can include counseling and therapy, rehabilitation, and housing.
Over the next three years, Hartley and Baldwin will evaluate outcomes from the VTC programs. These outcomes include the effects of VTCs on substance abuse and addiction, mental health and PTSD and whether, overall, there has been a reduction of criminal activity among the VTCs’ veteran population.
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE: Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.
TALLAHASSEE | A measure that would put mentally ill people charged with crimes in medical treatment instead of correctional facilities is making its way through the legislative process. Highlights:
Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, is the sponsor of House Bill 439. He said the goal is to help Florida prisons and jails shake their status as the state’s largest mental-health treatment facilities.
Among other things, the proposal:■ Allows county judges to direct people accused of misdemeanors to treatment instead of jail;
■ Changes the definition of the term veteran to make more people eligible for veteran courts that provide alternative resolutions to jail for veterans charged with crimes;
■ Allows every county to create a mental-health court that provides treatment for mentally ill people accused of crimes instead of sending them to jail; and
■ Creates a pilot program in Duval, Broward and Miami-Dade counties that provides treatment options for people deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for felony offenses instead of sending them to state mental-health hospitals.
Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) CORE ISSUE: Decriminalization of mental health and addictive disorders.
The Lyon County Forensic Assessment Safety Triage Team and Mobile Outreach Safety Team were established in August 2015 to address the significant number of individuals in the criminal justice system with a mental health diagnosis, substance use disorder or, in many cases, both. Highlights:
These teams represent community collaboration between state and local government and nonprofit agencies to address the behavioral health needs of people involved in, or at risk of involvement in, the criminal justice system by providing an array of community-based diversion services designed to keep people with behavioral health issues out of the criminal justice system while also addressing issues of public safety.
New Sheriff McNeil described the programs as restorative justice rather than jail diversion, but said they help reduce repeat offenders by giving them the help they need to prevent them from becoming involved with law enforcement.
McNeil said the programs save the county money in the long run, by reducing the costs of institutionalizing the mentally ill.