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Friday, June 10, 2016

Decriminalizing Mental Illness — The Miami Model

John K. Iglehart
N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1701-1703

Here is an excerpt:

Miami-Dade’s initiative was launched in 2000, when Judge Leifman, frustrated by the fact that people with mental disorders were cycling through his court repeatedly, created the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP). As Leifman explained, “When I became a judge . . . I had no idea I would become the gatekeeper to the largest psychiatric facility in the State of Florida. . . . Of the roughly 100,000 bookings into the [county] jail every year, nearly 20,000 involve people with serious mental illnesses requiring intensive psychiatric treatment while incarcerated. . . . Because community-based delivery systems are often fragmented, difficult to navigate, and slow to respond to critical needs, many individuals with the most severe and disabling forms of mental illnesses . . . fall through the cracks and land in the criminal justice or state hospital systems” that emphasize crisis resolution rather than “promoting ongoing stable recovery and community integration.”

The article is here.