Resources for Incarcerated Peers
The Equitas Project
TYPE: This a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focuses on disentangling mental health and criminal justice. The mission is to cultivate a shared commitment to prioritize personal liberty and human potential over punishment and confinement.
SERVICES: Equitas works locally and nationally to:
• Raise awareness. Underscore the urgency of culture change and systems reform.
• Bring allies together. Set the stage for innovative conversations and ambitious goal-setting with allies.
• Propel continuous progress toward better mental health outcomes.
• Identify and disseminate bright ideas and successful practices.
DAY LINE: 1-303-789-2664 X210
Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice
TYPE: The Greenburger Center advocates for reforms to the criminal justice system in collaboration with involved organizations.
SERVICES: Its first major project will be the opening of HOPE HOUSE on CROTONA PARK, an “Alternative to Incarceration” facility for individuals with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders accused of certain felonies. Scheduled to welcome its first clients in late 2018, it reportedly will be the first facility of its kind in the nation, offering long-term residential and evidence based clinical programs for sixteen men and nine women. Entering the program will be completely voluntary with advice from a defendant’s lawyer and consent from both the district attorney and presiding judge. The accused agrees to a plea arrangement (pleads guilty) to a specific charge with the understanding that the sentencing on the charge will be “adjourned” (delayed) until he/she finishes the mandated Hope House treatment program. Basically, if the defendant completes the treatment successfully he/she will serve no time in prison, although the defendant most likely would be subject to some sort of post release supervision. Once at the house, residents will participate in evidence-based, work ordered day programming, mindfulness and mediation, violence reduction and restorative justice programs, and job/education services. They will receive trauma counseling; psychiatric and nursing care; medication management for psychiatric conditions as required; and cognitive and dialectical behavioral therapy where necessary. They will not spend any longer at Hope House than they would if sentenced to prison but there is an opportunity for them to be released earlier than their original sentence would require if they successfully complete the Hope House program.
DAY LINE: 212-206-5655
CONTACT: Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice on Face Book Messenger, https://www.facebook.com/greenburgercenter
The Icarus Project NYC
TYPE: The Icarus Project is a support network and media project by and for people who experience the world in ways that are often diagnosed as mental illness. Icarus advances social justice by fostering mutual aid practices that reconnect healing and collective liberation. Local affiliate of an international network The Icarus Project.
SERVICES: Holds regular events, workshops and celebrations. Has an active twitter account and an online community at Facebook. There are currently no public, open Icarus peer-support groups happening in New York City. Instead, Icarus is experimenting with this model of an open network of closed groups: http://legacy.theicarusproject.net/alternative-treatments/a-small-group-friends-make-best-medicine Periodically, Icarus hosts meetups to help people organize new cells. Contact nycicarus at gmail dot com if you are interested in joining or starting a cell.
TELEPHONE: Not available
Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (MHASC)
TYPE: MHASC is a coalition of more than sixty organizations and hundreds of concerned citizens, advocates, mental health and criminal justice professionals, formerly incarcerated people and their family members, working to end the cruel practice of placing people with psychiatric disabilities in solitary confinement.
SERVICES: MHASC advocates for the implementation and oversight of the Special Housing Unit (SHU) Exclusion Law. MHASC is also engaged in creating supplemental trainings for Mental Health and Corrections staff, to help them better understand how to assist in the rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals suffering from mental illness. MHASC’s family committee works to improve the prison mental health system’s response to family members of imprisoned people with psychiatric disabilities. To get involved in MHASC or schedule a presentation, contact Jennifer (JJ) Parish at 646-602-5644.
DAY LINE: 646.602.5600
New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) Peer Services
TYPE: NYAPRS is a statewide coalition of people who use and/or provide recovery oriented community based mental health services. It is the major consumer organization in NYS.
SERVICES: Referral resource for NYAPRS members. Through a set of programs located through NYS and NYC, NYAPRS partners peers with individuals in services to offer a unique opportunity at successful recovery.
DAY LINE: 1-518- 436-0008
E-MAIL: Denise Ranaghan, Director of Peer Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
TYPE: The Osborne Association works in partnership with individuals, families, and communities to create opportunities for people affected by the criminal justice system to further develop their strengths and lead lives of responsibility and contribution.
SERVICES: Its programs draw upon research and evaluation that has demonstrated success with people involved in the criminal justice system, and are designed to be family-focused, supporting participants within the context of their family relationships and communities—strengthening relationships that are the bedrock of our participants’ future success.
More than 300 staff in community sites in New York City, Newburgh, NY, and more than 30 prisons and jails work at every point of the continuum, from arrest and pre-entry, through jail and prison, to reentry, including children and families affected by crime and the criminal justice system. Osborne develops effective programs that offer a broad range of treatment, education, and vocational services to more than 12,000 people each year.
DAY LINE: 845-345-9845
Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC)
TYPE: Criminal justice advocacy organization. The TAC is a respected, independent voice for reforming treatment laws nationwide. Twenty-two states have made important changes to their civil commitment standards and treatment laws as a direct result of its advocacy since TAC was founded, and more progress is on the horizon.
SERVICES: TAC engages in a wide range of activities and projects aimed at increasing treatment for people with severe mental illness. Its website (www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org) is designed to provide the public and policy makers with a reliable source of information about state treatment laws and family members with information and resources for helping loved ones with severe mental illness.
• Educating policymakers and judges about the true nature of severe brain disorders, advanced treatments available for those illnesses, and the necessity of court-ordered treatment in some cases
• Assisting individuals who are working in their own states to promote laws that enable individuals with the most severe brain disorders to receive assisted treatment
• Promoting innovative approaches to diverting individuals with severe mental illness away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate treatment
• Ensuring that individuals receive adequate psychiatric services and maintain medication compliance upon release from hospitals
• Supporting the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
TAC focuses on the sub-population of people whose brain disorders are the most severe and debilitating because this group is largely under-served by the mental health advocacy community at large and is most likely to benefit from tools like assisted outpatient treatment (AOT).
DAY LINE: (703)294-6001