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 Condemns Police Brutality in Hospital

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform, Inc, was launched a little over three months ago. We were formed, in part, in response to the recent videos and reports of police killing unarmed people. We hope to use the platform we have been given as physicians to help bring about the lasting criminal justice reform that we believe can help prevent such tragic occurrences in the future.

While the videos of the killings that have occurred have been emotionally draining and disturbing in many ways, a recent episode has shaken our membership even further, despite the lack of video evidence. Alan Pean, a 26 year old young man, a patient at St Joseph’s Medical Center in Houston, TX, a man who was seeking care, a man who should have been under the protection of physicians, the son of a physician, the brother of a future physician, was shot in the chest by anoff-duty police officer while receiving treatment in the hospital. If there is video of the incident, it has not yet been released. But all we need to know, as physicians, as healers, has already been confirmed.

Whether in medical school, in training or in practice, I am sure we have all encountered patients, in the hospital, who may have threatened us, made us feel uncomfortable. Maybe we thought about calling security, and sometimes, maybe we did. But even if we did need the support of security, in the majority of situations, we were able to use our experience, our desire to help, our training to diffuse the situation so that we could continue to medically manage the patient – even as they were threatening us.

Like us, police officers need training to handle situations like this. This is why PfCJR hopes to partner with police departments to help them do their jobs in the best way possible, to allow them to serve and protect. In order to do that, they need the competence to turn a dangerous situation into a safe one. Courses such as Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) have been specifically developed for training officers to respond to individuals with mental illness. As described in a review article published in Best Practices in Mental Health: An International Journal, CIT training has been demonstrated to result in fewer arrests of individuals with mental illness, less use of force, more reliance on low-lethality measures when force was used and improvements in attitudes and knowledge about mental illness and is considered a best practice in law enforcement.

We believe that our police officers can do better — we believe that they want to do better. But we must demand that they use the tools that are already available — tools that are evidence-based — tools have been proven to work. We cannot continue to accept the terrible events that have been occurring.

The founders of PfCJR have signed a petition written by other concerned physicians that outlines our outrage at this incident at St Joseph’s. The petition echoes Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform’s feelings about this situation by saying the following:

“As doctors and medical students, as nurses and care partners, we are trained in how to safely restrain and tranquilize patients, no matter how aggressive, or irritable, or anxious, or threatening they may be. Never is it appropriate or warranted for a patient to be tazed, never is it appropriate for a patient to be struck, never, never, never is it appropriate for a patient seeking care, to have their life threatened in our arms.”

We ask you all to join Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform in our campaign to ensure that we never have to hear about a situation like this ever again.

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform is seeking physicians to join our Speakers Bureau.  If interested, please contact us through JOIN page at the Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform website.

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

GBI pushes for mental health training for GA officers

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform (PfCJR) Core Strategy:  Decriminalization of Mental Health and Addictive Disorders.

Following an incident in March 2015 in DeKalb County, GA during which  an officer shot a naked man with mental illness,  DeKalb police increased its CIT training from four hours to 40 hours for all officers.  Read the full article here.

PfCJR is committed to eliminating the detrimental health consequences of interactions with the criminal justice system.  Click here to JOIN US.

Massachusetts Reviewing Placement Of Mentally Ill In Prison System

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

CBS Boston is reporting attempts at reforming the state criminal justice system.  An excerpt from the article is below:

“In any other state, most or all of the populations at Bridgewater State Hospital would be cared for by the Department of Mental Health,” she said. “Any step to undo the damage done to people by asking our state prison system to care for the sickest people in the commonwealth who are struggling with mental illness or substance abuse disorders is a wonderful and long overdue reform.”

Click HERE to read the entire article.

PfCJR seeks to advocate for the elimination of detrimental health consequences that result from interactions with the criminal justice system.  Click here to JOIN US.

Study finds gender disparities for inmates with HIV

Physicians for Criminal Justice Reform CORE ISSUE:  Provision of adequate access to physical and psychiatric health care for current inmates. In the largest study of inmates with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy, Yale researchers uncovered significant differences in HIV treatment outcomes for men and women in the justice system. Their findings point to the need for gender-specific HIV prevention strategies for incarcerated individuals.  Click HERE to read the full article. Study available at: “Sex-Related Disparities in Criminal Justice and HIV Treatment Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study of HIV-Infected Inmates.” American Journal of Public Health. e-View Ahead of Print.