Released on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
The challenge of mental health impacts America nationwide. It impacts our states, our communities, our courts, and our entire justice system. Courts are at the center of the clash between competing funding choices, community concerns, and those struggling with behavioral health issues. Local jails and detention centers are the largest providers of mental health services in the country: for both adults and children. In 44 states a jail or prison holds more individuals with mental health issues than that state’s largest psychiatric hospital. On the other hand, nearly 30 percent of all family homicides involve an individual suffering with a mental illness.
This month is the first of five episodes. They will be spread out over the coming winter and spring discussing the National Judicial Task Force to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness.
Some of the questions we will explore include:
- What do we know now about mental health, incarceration, and the courts?
- What sort of change can courts make to deal with the mental health challenge?
- What options do judges have in helping the mentally ill, what sort of options should judges have?
- What advice do our guests have for the rest of us regarding mental health and the courts?
Our panel today includes:
- The Honorable Steve Leifman, Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in Miami, Florida, and
- Patti Tobias, Principal Court Management Consultant with the National Center for State Courts in Denver, Colorado