At the Hands of Police

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Cook County Illinois’s public defender and Equitas National Advisor Amy Campanelli describes her work providing “a voice for the voiceless.” Adapted from Progressive.org Public defenders serve as a voice for people in these communities. We hear their stories, we see the excessive use of force by police. We experience the system as it processes human beings into prison inmates. As public …

Help can’t wait for imprisoned mentally ill

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From Equitas National Advisor Cheryl Roberts with The Greenburger Center. From start to finish, the criminal justice system is no place to make treatment and housing decisions about the vast majority of people with serious mental illness. Not only are defense attorneys, DAs and corrections officials not meant to make treatment decisions; jails and prisons are not equipped, nor should …

Dallas leverages data to address behavioral health needs of inmates

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In Dallas, the technology and clinical services company HarrisLogic is attempting to solve this problem using data-driven tools to determine the appropriate behavioral health services for prisoners. By pooling information from jails, police departments, emergency services, mental health and social services, courts, and hospitals, the company has saved Dallas County $30 million over the course of four years. The majority …

When medication is essential to mental health

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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 44.7 million adults in the U.S. currently live with mental illness, 19.2 million of whom are receiving treatment in the form of counseling and prescription medication. Still, in casual conversation, the mentally ill are often derided. Phrases like “what are you, off your meds?” and “stop acting crazy” serve as reminders that mentally …

Opinion: How to Have a Better Conversation About Mental Illness

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Much good has come of the increased willingness to discuss mental disorders. There is greater acceptance than in the past that mental illness is real and common, and that when it arises, its causes are complex and cannot be explained away as weakness or lack of character. All of this is vital in reducing stigma, which in turn encourages people …

What happens when schoolchildren live in violent neighborhoods?

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The effects are broader than previously known, a study finds. Researchers have shown — and teachers know — that schoolchildren exposed to neighborhood violence can have a tougher time learning, experiencing more stress and depression than their peers growing up in safe neighborhoods. But a Johns Hopkins University sociologist discovered that the consequences of neighborhood violence reach further than previously known, …

Study after study shows ex-prisoners would be better off without intense supervision

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In a recent review of the literature on prisoner reentry, Brookings Institution Nonresident Fellow Jennifer Doleac summarized the best evidence on how to improve the lives of the formerly incarcerated. One of the most striking findings was that reducing the intensity of community supervision for those on probation or parole is a highly cost-effective strategy. Several studies of excellent quality and using a …