Staring Into the Abyss of the Criminalization of Persons With Mental Illness

December 15, 2014 5:06 PM

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It is another challenging day in Broward's Mental Health Court. We are a few months away from 17 years in operation, thousands have been diverted out of Broward's jail with linkage to community treatment and services. Our efforts to stop the revolving door is fueled by an unqualified vision of recovery and shared social justice mission. Thanks to the enduring dedication of our community-based treatment providers and criminal justice stakeholders, we boldly face the abyss of the criminalization of persons with mental illness every day. We are quick to embrace the wins. This is not boasting, but our way of sustaining a criminal justice and therapeutic battle that is derived from a chronically under-funded and broken system of mental health (behavioral) community care. Florida's problems are representative of a massive scale in America's jails and prisons.

Just recently, Washington Post opinion writer George F. Will penned a compelling editorial on the death of Eric Garner, entitled, "Eric Garner Criminalized to Death," and remarked "that the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decency. It might at long last be ready to s...

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