Thursday, October 1, 2015

Metro Atlanta Justice Mental Health Symposium

What: Metro Atlanta Justice Mental Health Symposium (MAJMHS)
When: Thursday, October 29, 2015 & Friday, October 30, 2015
Place: Atlanta Metropolitan State College Easley Pavilion Conference Center
1630 Metropolitan Pkwy SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
Host: The Superior Court of Fulton County

Each year, there are an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses admitted to jails across the nation. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses. The human toll of this problem-and its cost to taxpayers-is staggering. Jails spend two to three times more money on adults with mental illnesses that require intervention than on those without those needs, yet often do not see improvements to public safety or these individuals' health. Although counties have made tremendous efforts to address this problem, they are often thwarted by significant obstacles, including operating with minimal resources and needing better coordination between criminal justice, mental health, substance use treatment, and other agencies. Without change, large numbers of people with mental illnesses will continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families, missed opportunities for connections to treatment, inefficient use of funding, and a failure to improve public safety.

The MAJMHS is a one and a half day conference slated to bring together stakeholders from the judicial branch, law enforcement community, county and state officials, the legal and social services communities to facilitate training and collaborative efforts to improve outcomes for individuals with mental illness who are involved in the criminal and civil justice system. The Symposium will host up to 250 guests from the surrounding counties of Atlanta. Those guests will include a mix of law enforcement, city and county officials, members of the respective judicial circuits, and social service providers. By bringing together this multi-faceted group, we hope to make an impact on the way citizens with behavioral health concerns are addressed within the criminal justice system.

Media Resources Available: Chief Judge Gail Tusan, District Court Administrator Yolanda L. Lewis, Commissioners John Eaves and Joan Garner (on program) & local symposium speakers can be made available for Public Service Announcements, pre-event interviews, and on-site event interviews.

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