Judicial Disparities

WMNF | Florida Commission on Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues Its Interim Report

In 2019, after the tragic college capturing in Parkland Florida the place 17 lives had been misplaced, the State empaneled a Grand Jury to research college security issues and different points that contributed to that tragedy. What we realized from that investigation is that Florida’s psychological well being care system is “a multitude.” It’s missing in funding, companies, and management, with a dysfunctional patchwork of usually conflicting sources of psychological well being remedy. Not too stunning, as a result of on the time, Florida ranked LAST amongst all states for its per capita psychological well being care funding, in accordance with the Parkland Grand Jury. Quickly after that report was issued, the State Legislature created the Florida Fee on Psychological Well being and Substance Abuse to look at these points. Final week, the Fee issued its interim report. Just like the Grand Jury, the Fee additionally discovered Florida’s psychological well being system complicated, underfunded, and in dire want of reform.In accordance with the Fee’s interim report, the deinstitutionalization of individuals needing psychological well being care has resulted in a fragmented continuum of care that has did not adequately combine companies, suppliers, and methods leaving huge gaps in remedy and disparities in entry to companies.  That is crucial as a result of practically 3 million Florida adults have a psychological sickness, in accordance with the nationwide advocacy group Psychological Well being America. That’s 14% of the state’s inhabitants. An estimated 225,000 youth skilled a minimum of one main depressive episode prior to now 12 months. And, issues have solely been getting worse since Covid.

The felony justice system has now grow to be the de facto psychological well being system in Florida

The most important psychiatric establishment in Florida, for instance, is the Miami-Dade County Jail, in accordance with reporting from the eleventh Judicial Circuit within the Tampa Bay Occasions. About one-fifth of the individuals booked into that jail are individuals with psychological sickness who want intensive remedy.  On any given day, that jail homes about 2,400 people receiving psychotherapeutic medicines, costing taxpayers roughly $232 million per 12 months, the Courtroom system stated. The circumstances are comparable in Hillsborough County, in accordance with the Hon. Ronald Ficarrotta, Chief Decide of the thirteenth Judicial Circuit for Hillsborough County. He was our visitor on MidPoint in the present day.

Decide Ficarrotta was appointed by Governor DeSantis to serve on the Fee on Psychological Well being and Substance Abuse. Decide Ficarrotta served on the Legal Justice Subcommittee of the Fee which was tasked with investigating and reporting on methods to enhance the felony justice system’s response to people with psychological sickness who come into contact with the justice system by way of arrest. Decide Ficarrotta shared with MidPoint the efforts his court docket has already made to handle defendants with psychological sickness, equivalent to his specialised Psychological Well being Courtroom, and he mentioned the suggestions of the state’s Fee on Psychological Well being and Substance Abuse.  You’ll be able to hearken to this dialogue and all the present right here:

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