Now more than ever communities need treatment for their mentally ill. Jail warehousing these individuals was cruel and unusual in the Pre COVID-19 world. Cloud 9’s telehealth jail diversion program is designed to amplify proven programs and results like the Miami Model started by Judge Steven Leifman over 20 years ago.
“An estimated 45% of those who are homeless have a mental illness; a quarter have one defined as serious.”
“Nearly 40% of our jail population has a diagnosed mental illness, half of those with SMI. Rikers Island is one of three facilities in the country housing the largest number of Americans with mental illnesses, along with the Cook County Jail and the LA County Jail. At least before the pandemic took hold, one in eight emergency room visits were for issues of mental illness and substance abuse… We need to eliminate the fragmentation in the mental health system and treat and fund mental illnesses like any other illness... We need to modernize our antiquated laws and develop better standards for judging when those with deep psychoses who do not recognize that they are ill can be given treatment.”
The jail diversion initiative in Miami successfully reduced “the number of shootings involving cops and those with mental illnesses which has declined from an average of nearly 25 a year to five or six in the past decade — along the way, saving taxpayers millions from wrongful death suits. At the same time, the number of overall arrests in Miami-Dade County has been cut in half — enabling the county to close one of its three jails, saving $12 million a year since 2013 and reducing the burden on Corrections Officers.” - STEVE LEIFMAN and NORM ORNSTEIN wrote in this The Daily News article.
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