January 21, 2020 Feature

Improving the Courts’ Response to People with Mental Illnesses

Judge Steve Leifman and Hallie Fader-Towe

Our justice system often finds itself handling not just individual cases but also the complex outcomes of other areas of social policy. Whether in Judge Leifman’s courtroom in Miami or in thousands of courtrooms around the country, legal professionals come face-to-face with individuals who likely would not be involved with the courts were it not for untreated or undertreated mental illnesses or substance use disorders (“behavioral health” needs). Although the legal options may be clear, they often seem inadequate.

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