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Coordination and Communication are Key to Improving Mental Health and Criminal Justice in America

Mental health and criminal justice are a tangled mess in communities all across the country. Rather than supporting health from childhood through old age, our social systems show hardly any signs of understanding mental health at all. We don’t systematically recognize or have the capacity to respond to early indications for concern, and instead rely upon law enforcement to intervene …

National Public Defenders Summit Directives Document Now Available

Public defenders from around the country convened in Denver this spring for the first of its kind event to build consensus for policy and practice reforms.  Top defenders from 21 states and the District of Columbia met for two days to debate reforms to safely reduce incarceration, while improving the lives and wellbeing of individuals living with mental health challenges. Public …

Meet Equitas Project Summer 2018 Undergraduate Intern Zena Jahmi

Did you know? The Equitas Project offers internships year-round. These internships offer in-depth experience in the mental health and criminal justice advocacy arena. This summer at Equitas, we have two undergraduate interns and one master’s practicum student working with us.  Learn more about undergraduate intern Zena Jamhi below.  Zena Jahmi, Undergraduate Student, University of Colorado, Boulder Concentrations: International Affairs; Minors in …

Meet the Equitas Project Summer 2018 Practicum Student Lindsay Houston

Did you know? The Equitas Project offers internships year-round. These internships offer in-depth experience in the mental health and criminal justice advocacy arena. This summer at Equitas, we have two undergraduate interns and one master’s practicum student working with us. Learn more about MPH candidate Lindsay Houston below! Lindsay Houston, Master of Public Health candidate University of Colorado at Anschutz …

Meet Equitas Project Summer 2018 Undergraduate Intern Sarah Wiener

Did you know? The Equitas Project offers internships year-round. These internships offer in-depth experience in the mental health and criminal justice advocacy arena. This summer at Equitas, we have two undergraduate interns and one master’s practicum student working with us. Learn more about undergraduate intern Sarah Wiener below. Sarah Wiener, Undergraduate Student, Tufts University Concentrations: Philosophy, Political Science; Minor in …

Mental Health Awareness Month 2018

Where does culture end and the brain begin? The truth is, our culture simultaneously creates and is created by our brains. As the brain receives information from the environment, it creates linkages, pattern recognition, and meaning. We learn and we create culture in order to survive, and our brains perpetuate and evolve those cultures, to sustain us and to nurture …

Spring in Review: Disentangling Mental Health & Criminal Justice with the State of Indiana and with National Public Defenders

This spring, Equitas has been active with projects in several states, completing work in Indianapolis and Denver to convene stakeholders at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice. For the second year, Equitas partnered with NAMI Indiana for their 15th Annual Mental Health & Criminal Justice Summit: Course Corrections, and for the first time ever, Equitas convened public defenders …

Expanding the Presence of Law Enforcement in Schools Takes Us Farther Off Course

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida shooting in February, legislators around the country have been working to do something to address the vulnerability of schools to such attacks. One answer? Put more police on school campuses. Beefing up security in schools is a natural first impulse of a community that is fearful for the wellbeing and safety of students. …

Expanding Jail-Based Competency Restoration Takes Us Farther Off Course

In 2016, an estimated 90,000 US jail inmates nationwide were “pretrial defendants with serious mental illness who had been found incompetent to stand trial (IST).” In fact, in almost every state, jails hold more people with mental health conditions than state hospitals do. By remaining slow to understand mental health, by chronically underfunding community mental health facilities, and by discriminating …

Year in Review 2017

In 2017, Equitas engaged in dialogue to disentangle mental health and criminal justice with leaders in Indiana; the Mid-Atlantic region including Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia; Los Angeles; New York; Milwaukee; and Chicago. We released Course Corrections documents listing participants’ priorities from three of those regions, and fourth is in the final stages of the collaborative editing process. Work with …