irreparable harm, People with mental illness, & the criminal Justice system
*Adseg/solitary/torture in county jails
*grossly inadequate housing & intensive community mental health treatment provided by the state
"Unfortunately, there's a lot of mentally ill people that come through our court system, and we're not set up to handle it very well,"
---Judge Robert Lowrey, 4th Judicial District
(At the time of sentencing, a homeless woman w/ mental illness & prior convictions is given 5 years in prison for kicking a police officer)
Guess What -- That's What Happens When We Don't Provide Intensive Services in the Community -- & AND When We Do Provide Those Services, We Can't Limit Them to Criminal Justice or We'll Never Get Out of This
Unnecessary incarceration of people with mental illness is:
Irreparable harm --
let's treat it like the emergency it is.
We know many people with the State who consider the problem of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system a very serious one that they are trying to address in various ways.
The problem is that Coloradans with mental illness are suffering "IRREPARABLE HARM" NOW. AND THAT IRREPARABLE HARM IS UNNECESSARY INCARCERATION DUE IN PART TO OUR GROSSLY INADEQUATE MEDICAID MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM. (In Fairness, a lot of States have struggled with the same issues we're struggling with).
We would suggest:
We realize that $2.7 million may be coming in housing & supportive housing for people with mental illness re-entering the community from jails or prisons: AND THAT IS NOT PREVENTING THE IRREPARABLE HARM WE ARE SEEING IN FRONT OF US RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes it can be very difficult to recognize an emergency outside the context of something sudden happening:
Further, there is a fair amount of activity on the part of the State to address these issues.
But it's not going to be in time for the people there right now -- some who have been grossly neglected for the past 30 years.
Older Black Homeless Men with mental illness in the Denver Metro do not farewell -- Marvin Booker, Michael Marshall, etc.
And we absolutely know that nobody wants this -- but Colorado Medicaid Community Mental Health Services are dangerously inadequate.
We can't have Colorado judges sentencing people with mental illness to prison because there are NOT sufficient intensive community mental health supports in the community.