UT Opportunity Forum Presents: Mental Health and Criminal Justice Involvement: A Conversation on Best Practices and Local Policy Reforms
“Criminalizing mental illness is expensive [and] it is ineffective”
Sally Hernandez, Travis County Sheriff
People with mental illness are greatly overrepresented among the millions of individuals cycling through our criminal justice system. Travis County is no exception, with the number of jail inmates with mental illness trending steeply upward over the past ten years. Steps have been taken to address the issue through the Health Justice Learning Collaborative and other efforts, but more is needed.
Join our discussion with key stakeholders, including County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Mindy Montford (Travis County District Attorney’s Office), Sherry Blyth (Austin Travis County Integral Care), Assistant Chief Joe Chacon (Austin Police Department), and Danny Smith (Travis County Sheriff’s Office), to learn what’s happening in our community to strengthen cross-system collaboration, create more robust integrated systems of care in Travis County, and reduce criminal justice involvement for individuals with mental illnesses.
The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis
The William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
The Longhorn Center for Community Engagement
The Graduate Program in Community & Regional Planning
Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable
JOIN THE CONVERSATION:
According to the speaker, the United States and the majority of state governments have created a justice system that promotes incarceration to drive profit. Our society has made it profitable for corporations to incarcerate people, with prisoners calculated as growth commodities on corporate balance sheets. Shareholders are fiscally rewarded when private prison populations increase. This practice, sponsored by government, is inherently flawed and filled with economic conflicts of interest that violate “life and liberty” guarantees in the Constitution of the United States.
About the speaker:
John Dacey worked for 12 years at legal aid and public interest firms, and since has been in private practice representing nonprofits and other businesses that provide medical, behavioral health, and developmental disability services. Dacey has also served as a state court judge pro tem, a federal court-appointed mediator to mediate inmate lawsuits over medical care and religious freedoms, and as adjunct faculty at the Arizona State University Law School. He founded Abolish Private Prisons in 2015.
Mon, April 10, 2017
12:00 PM – 1:45 PM CDT
University of Texas School of Law
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705