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WHEREAS, 2 million people with mental illness are booked into jails each year. Nearly 15% of men and 30% of women booked into jails have a serious mental health condition; and
WHEREAS, the vast majority of individuals with mental health issues are not violent criminals; and
WHEREAS, once in jail, many individuals with mental health issues don't receive the treatment they need and end up getting worse, not better. They stay longer than their counterparts without mental illness. They are at risk of victimization and often their mental health conditions get worse; and
WHEREAS, people with serious and untreated mental health and substance use conditions often encounter barriers that prevent receiving the right services. Among the wide-spread problems are:
- the lack of alternatives to calling 911;
- the lack of training for 911 personnel;
- the lack of alternatives to dispatching law enforcement personnel in response to mental health and substance use crises; and
- the lack of training for law enforcement personnel; and
- the lack of crisis and respite services with the expertise to manage mental health and substance use conditions in a manner that facilitates recovery and reduces hospitalization, involvement in the criminal justice system and homelessness; and
WHEREAS, as a result, persons experiencing mental health or substance use crisis may:
- end up in confrontations with law enforcement personnel which have tragic outcomes;
- be transported to emergency rooms and be admitted or committed to inpatient psychiatric facilities when these outcomes are unnecessary and may be harmful to the person; and
- be transported to a jail and subjected to ongoing involvement in the criminal justice system when these outcomes are unnecessary, are harmful to the person and do not lead to increased public safety.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP seek federal and state legislation to mandate all employers to post conspicuously in at least two locations in all facilities, contact information for the state, county and local Mental Health Crisis Intervention Mobil Units (CIT) - emergency mobile intervention teams so that CIT emergency teams are first contacted by employers and employees when person experience some type of mental health crisis rather than calling 911 for police intervention.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the legislation shall require all employers to provide a copy of the mobile hotline numbers to each employee.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the state departments of health and labor shall be charged with enforcing the mandatory sign posting at all employment locations and fines for violations shall be set as appropriate in each jurisdiction.