Advocacy E-News August 23, 2013
NAMI RELEASES GUIDE TO HELP RE-ENTERING PRISONERS SUCCEED
Returning to the community after prison is especially challenging for people living with mental illness. Our new re-entry guide walks you through getting health care, ID, housing, benefits and other necessities to help you succeed.
CORRECTIONS UNION PUSHES FOR NEW IMAGE OF SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
The 7-by-7 foot, windowless room in Jamesburg has only a platform bed, sink, and toilet. In New Jersey, juveniles who are in the state’s custody can be banished in “the box” for days — in solitude — for offenses as minor as cursing, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. But according to the state’s Juvenile Justice Commission and PBA Local 105 that description just isn’t true. The union is pushing for a new way to describe the punishment: “restricted engagement.” They say the term more aptly describes a prisoner’s experience. Still, for members of the state’s civil liberties union, changing what the punishment is called isn’t enough. They’d like to see the practice eliminated altogether.
NEW JERSEY TO PAY $425K TO DISABLED MAN BEATEN BY POLICE
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office will pay $425,000 to a mentally disabled man that was severely beaten by police in a traffic stop that occurred four years ago. A friend who was driving the car during the 2009 incident, told the trooper about his friend’s condition before he was beaten. Still, police mistook his mental illness for defiance, and charged him for resisting arrest. The case was later dismissed, and an internal investigation published around the time that The Star-Ledger published the video concluded that the beating violated use-of-force rules.
A JOINT LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE TO SERVE N.J.’S VULNERABLE POPULATION
New Jersey Legislators have sponsored two bills that are directed toward protecting the State’s most vulnerable citizens. A-3132 is designed to create the “Bill of Rights for Continuing Care Retirement Community Residents in Independent Living”. The bill would provide residents in continuing care facilities with a proper voice to ensure that their needs and rights are protected. Assembly bill 1665 (A1665) would require the State Health Benefits Program (SHBP) and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) to cover treatment for alcoholism, other substance-use disorders, and non biologically-bases mental illnesses under the same terms and conditions as for other diseases and illnesses.
A DRY PIPELINE FOR PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS
After a series of failed clinical trials in which novel antidepressants and antipsychotics did little or no better than placebos, the companies seem to have concluded that developing new psychiatric drugs is too risky and too expensive. This trend was obvious at the 2011 meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, where only 13 of 300 abstracts related to psychopharmacology and none related to novel drugs.