Master of Arts
The current models of treating mentally ill people with police contact are not working and have never worked. Mentally ill people, or those in crisis, often slip through gaps in the criminal justice and hospital systems. It is time for criminal justice and medical treatment systems to work together to help those with mental illnesses. Properly implemented programs and policies will allow officers to respond better to people experiencing a crisis. These programs, and ethically implemented policies, will enable officers to better serve people by getting them the necessary services while limiting the potential for using force, jail, and hospitalization. Additionally, these programs will offer a more complete level of service, looking beyond the immediate criminal act and examining the individuals and the services they require in an effort to reduce recidivism.