“These people are not in Rikers because they’re hardened criminals,” said Jonathan Lippman, former New York State Chief Judge. “They’re there because they have a problem, (and) they don’t need to be brutalized by a penal colony that is a relic of the past.
A 2010 survey by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that people with mental illness are nine times more likely to be incarcerated than hospitalized, and 18 times more likely to find a bed in the criminal justice system than at any state and civil hospital.
Miami-Dade County Judge Steven Leifman: “There’s something wrong with a society that is more willing to incarcerate its (population) than it is to treat it.”
Bexar County’s Leon Evans: “Change is hard. There’s so much politics involved, there’s so much money involved, and nobody wants the spotlight on them.”
“Bringing the mental health challenges to the forefront and making sure it’s not a conversation that is held behind closed doors will take us a long way to dealing with the issue,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.