CIT In Action

October 2008: Vol. 3, Issue 9

NAMI Advocates for Abolishing Death Penalty for People with Serious Mental Illnesses

Contributor: Laura Usher

In San Antonio, Texas, this month, Murder Victims Families for Human Rights and NAMI announced their collaboration on a project to abolish the death penalty for people with severe mental illnesses. The project will include a national media campaign and the release of a report in June of 2009.     

Representing NAMI  at the press conference, Ron Honberg, NAMI’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs, explained that perceptions of violence linked with mental illness can perpetuate stigma and discrimination and emphasized that "it is important to say right up front that most people with severe mental illnesses are not violent."   However, Honberg acknowledged that acts of violence do occur, the people who commit them are frequently perceived as "monsters, with no redeeming qualities," and studies suggest that defendants with severe mental illnesses who commit capital crimes are more likely to be sentenced to death than those without mental illnesses convicted of similar crimes. (More… )

Advocacy Spotlight: State Legislation Related to Criminalization

In the spring and summer of 2008, NAMI National sent a survey to the executive directors of our state organizations and large affiliates asking them to provide information regarding important legislation that passed in the last 5 years.  Click here to see responses relevant to the criminal justice system. We provide a summary and link to each bill in the hopes that this will provide some ideas for proactive legislation to improve the condition of people with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system.  (More…)

News and Announcements:

Nation’s First Veteran’s Treatment Court Starts in Buffalo  

Buffalo, NY, judge Robert Russell has long presided over the city’s mental health and substance abuse courts. This January, working with the VA Health Care Network, the Western New York Veterans Project, and other partners in the community, Judge Russell started the nation’s first veteran’s court. (More…)

Idaho Falls to Offer State’s First CIT Training

NAMI Idaho Falls, in partnership with the Police Department, Idaho Falls Fire Department (EMS), Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, and the Behavioral Health Center will host Idaho’s first CIT training in February. (More…)

NAMI Convention Seeking Workshops!

NAMI is now accepting proposals for workshops, poster presentations, or Leadership Institute sessions at the 2009 Convention and Leadership Institute, which is scheduled for July 6-9 at the San Francisco Hilton and Towers.

Click here to apply online!

The deadline for submission of proposals is December 15, 2008. Proposals received after this date and incomplete proposals will not be reviewed. (More…)

Comments or Suggestions?

Please let us know what you think we should include in future editions of CIT in Action by emailing Laura Usher at

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