Like Causes?

Install the App
TRY NOW

senate Bill S. 993

Will More Grant Money Improve Mental Health Screening in the Criminal Justice System?

Argument in favor

Prisons and jails are overcrowded with people who have mental health issues that should be getting treatment elsewhere. Law enforcement and community organizations need additional resources to cope with this problem.

Claus's Opinion
···
05/22/2015
Mental health is a growing issue in our communities. Too many times have individuals committed a crime, possibly due to their mental illness, we've thrown them in jail without the necessary resources to treat those illnesses, and eventually we release them from jail. They commit the same crime, due to the same mental illness, thus creating a cycle and a burden on the people. We must acknowledge that certain individuals have no control over their affliction, and instead of just throwing them into a cell, we must provide psychological services to them. Mental illness is perpetual, therefore we need to care for these people.
Like (10)
Follow
Share
John's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
Reauthorization is common sense. Just make sure this partisan Attorney General gives the grants to deserving institutions directly tied to the service and not campaign donors.
Like (3)
Follow
Share
Paul's Opinion
···
06/28/2015
We have created a new underclass of those who should be institutionalized and we closed the facilities that should be housing them. Violent crime would decrease and sheriffs across the country would thank us.
Like (2)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

Many criminals with mental health problems pose a threat to public safety — which is why they were arrested in the first place. Communities and law enforcement need help working with these people, but throwing money at the problem isn't the solution.

jrs333's Opinion
···
08/11/2015
We should know by now that throwing money at a problem does not solve it.
Like (4)
Follow
Share
Elinor's Opinion
···
08/10/2015
And then what? Those deemed mentally ill cannot be forced into a health center against their will. They cannot be forced to take anti-psychotic meds. As long as they are free to roam the streets because they are mentally ill and, therefore, not considered responsible for any of the crimes they commit, all the mental health screening in the world will not protect society from them.
Like (4)
Follow
Share
Lesia's Opinion
···
08/12/2015
The criminal justice agencies get money while mental health services keep getting cut. Give money to mental health so the mentally ill have a chance at not being in jail. Jail beds or mental health bed, we're going to pay either way
Like (2)
Follow
Share

What is Senate Bill S. 993?

This bill would reauthorize the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 — allowing the Attorney General to give grants to entities that focus on reducing recidivism and improving mental health screening/treatment in correctional facilities.

The Attorney General would be authorized to award grants for sequential intercept mapping and implementation — essentially a tool to study how the criminal justice system interacts with the mentally ill — that works to:

  • Help mental health and criminal justice stakeholders develop a shared understanding of how people with mental illnesses move through the criminal justice system;

  • Identify improved responses for emergency and crisis situations, specialized police-based needs, plus community and post-prison supervision;

  • Hire and train personnel, identify target populations, and offer services to reduce recidivism.

When considering grant applications, the Attorney General would have to give preference to programs that collaborate with criminal justice, mental health, substance abuse, and veterans service agencies. Grants could also be awarded for:

  • Peer to peer services or programs for qualified veterans;

  • Practices that identify and provide treatment, rehabilitation, legal, and transitional services to veterans who have been incarcerated;

  • Training programs to teach criminal justice, law enforcement, corrections, mental health, and substance abuse personnel how to identify and respond to incidents involving veterans.

Grants could also go to helping correctional facilities:

  • Provide the clinical, medical, and social needs of inmates; 

  • Assess appropriate treatments that address mental health and substance abuse needs;

  • Identify and screen for mental illness in inmates;

  • Develop and implement post-release transition plans.

Impact

People — particularly veterans — with mental health issues that otherwise would be sent to correctional facilities, their families, mental health and substance abuse groups, law enforcement officials, federal corrections facilities, their employees, related federal agencies, the DOJ, and the Attorney General.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 993

$100.00 Million
Assuming the funds are available, the CBO estimates that this bill would cost $100 million over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

Of Note: According to a 2006 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, more than half of all prison and jail inmates at all levels of government were found to have a mental health problem. Human Rights Watch estimated that the number of mentally ill inmates was 1.25 million in 2006. About 40 percent of all people with mental illness have been arrested at least once.


In-Depth:

In the 113th Congress, a version of this bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, but didn’t receive a vote from the full Senate. This was despite the support of a bipartisan group of legislators, and groups advocating for law enforcement, civil rights, veterans, and mental health services. 

This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and as of April 2015 the House Judiciary Committee is still considering its identical companion.


Other provisions of this bill include:

Collaboration program grants could be used to coordinate and implement community-based crisis responses and long-term plans for frequent users of crisis services.

The Attorney General could award grants for training law enforcement officials to identify and respond to incidents involving people with mental illnesses.

Under collaboration grant programs, this bill would revise the definition of "preliminarily qualified offenders" to include:

  • Adults or juveniles in veterans treatment court programs who have been diagnosed with, or manifests signs of, mental illness or a substance abuse;

  • A requirement that people need to be unanimously approved for participation;

  • Disqualification of those who have been charged with or convicted of a sex offense, murder, or assault with intent to murder.


Media:


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user CG Hughes)

AKA

Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015

Official Title

A bill to increase public safety by facilitating collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, veterans treatment services, mental health treatment, and substance abuse systems.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
  • The senate Passed December 10th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedApril 16th, 2015

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!
    Mental health is a growing issue in our communities. Too many times have individuals committed a crime, possibly due to their mental illness, we've thrown them in jail without the necessary resources to treat those illnesses, and eventually we release them from jail. They commit the same crime, due to the same mental illness, thus creating a cycle and a burden on the people. We must acknowledge that certain individuals have no control over their affliction, and instead of just throwing them into a cell, we must provide psychological services to them. Mental illness is perpetual, therefore we need to care for these people.
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    And then what? Those deemed mentally ill cannot be forced into a health center against their will. They cannot be forced to take anti-psychotic meds. As long as they are free to roam the streets because they are mentally ill and, therefore, not considered responsible for any of the crimes they commit, all the mental health screening in the world will not protect society from them.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    We should know by now that throwing money at a problem does not solve it.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Reauthorization is common sense. Just make sure this partisan Attorney General gives the grants to deserving institutions directly tied to the service and not campaign donors.
    Like (3)
    Follow
    Share
    We have created a new underclass of those who should be institutionalized and we closed the facilities that should be housing them. Violent crime would decrease and sheriffs across the country would thank us.
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    I say yeh and ney because it's just another way of us havein no privacy get more and more in your business but I say yeh because it is a lot of crazy folks there I been there I can tell you first hand but that's another story
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    The criminal justice agencies get money while mental health services keep getting cut. Give money to mental health so the mentally ill have a chance at not being in jail. Jail beds or mental health bed, we're going to pay either way
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    Ronald Reagan demonized the mentally ill. It is time to turn around that horrendous policy!! People need & deserve proper treatment for all illnesses!
    Like (2)
    Follow
    Share
    It is my understanding that mental health screening is very unreliable. Oftentimes healthy individuals are diagnosed with nonexistent mental conditions, and vice versa.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    If we can find better ways to deal with overcrowded prisons, I'm all for it.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    I don't care if a criminal is crazy or not, of the criminal is found guilty they belong behind bars. Once the criminal serves the time the criminal can then seek treatment. Insanity is not an acceptable excuse to get out of prison.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    More drugs in jail then out of jail! Drug dogs should be used in all prisons daily!
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a joke, right? Can anyone think up any ideas that don't just throw money at a problem? How about doing a better job with what they have to work with like the rest of the country?
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Pre frontal lobotomy would reduce recidivism. Look it up.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Money will help, but better structures in place and allowing the mental health personnel more day and sway in cases will help as well. Not to mention, we need to allow medication and emergency aid to be given to a severely mentally ill person BEFORE they reach a crisis point that lands them in jail.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm tired of hearing everyone that commits a crime just has a mental illness. Mental illness does not make a person commit crimes or become a criminal. I do think the state of mental health in the country needs to be improved but don't think it should be an excuse to get away with crime. Plus this would just divert the over crowding of prisons to overcrowding of hospitals. And government would still be paying either way.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a huge problem both interms of apprpriate treatment and cultural attitudes. Money that is dispersed for good data based programs will without question help a problem that has ballooned.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    We have a lack of mental health structure and this would be a step in the right direction. It gives us the opportunity to help our mentally ill get the help they need when they end up in our criminal justice system. There is no reason that we should keep these people from access to treatment while they are serving their time in prison.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    Individuals with mental health disorders should be treated to health care and not simply put in prisons. The ever-expanding prison industry is a threat to our freedoms, a tremendous burden on taxpayers, and a human rights violation.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    The wording of this question is asinine. It's asking for speculation, not opinions, and it's designed to manipulate people into asking the wrong question. The question is 'should mentally ill people be treated like criminals and put into federal prisons alongside inmates' and the answer is no. I don't know if putting more money into screenings WILL solve that problem, but that isn't the point. The point is that people who are consciously and deliberately violent towards others will target and abuse anyone who they feel they can exercise power over, and treating mentally ill people like prisoners is setting them up for incredible suffering at the hands of people who are deemed too dangerous to interact with mentally stable people. They are two very opposite groups, and mixing them is barbaric and unjust, so hopefully putting money into these screening will help.
    Like
    Follow
    Share
    MORE