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Mental Health and Criminal Justice

MENTAL HEALTH AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE:  Far too often mentally ill individuals experience unnecessary violence in their interactions with law enforcement. Even more frequently, they are incarcerated when treatment would be more appropriate and effective in preventing future crime. Leaders from Metro IAF congregations and mental health service organizations have initiated a campaign to address these problems. We have identified three policy goals:

  • The expansion of  Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and deployment of officers to the scene of Emotionally Disturbed Person (EDP) calls,
  • Creating diversion centers and other ways to divert mentally ill people from incarceration to treatment in New York City, and
  • Expansion of long-term supportive housing.

We have already held four forums, in October and December of 2017, as well as February and April of 2018. In these forums hundreds of religious, community and mental health leaders gathered to ask outside experts and law enforcement officials from New York City, including District Attorneys and the NYPD Commissioner, what steps are being taken to address these concerns. We are also exploring engagement with mental health issues beyond the criminal justice system. District Attorney Vance recently promised to work with us to expand mental health diversion. Further information about this campaign can be found here.


MT leaders asking Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance to increase mental health training for his ADA’s