NYLPI Urges City Council to Fund Non-Police Response to Mental Health Crises

March 25, 2021

Disability Justice, Health Justice, News, Policing and Mental Health Crises

“Each response to a mental health crisis starts that individual down a path: either towards recovery, or towards forced commitments, incarceration, homelessness, or even death,” Courtney Hauck, Pro Bono Scholar in NYLPI’s Disability Justice Program (Juris Doctor Candidate June 2021), testified to City lawmakers. “The City Council has the power to choose recovery.” NYLPI urged the New York City Council to fund a non-police response to mental health crises at a hearing on March 15, 2021.

Since 2015, police in New York City have killed at least 23 individuals experiencing mental health crises or who had a history of mental illness, 18 of whom were Black or other persons of color, according to the coalition Correct Crisis Intervention Today in New York City (CCIT-NYC) and Washington Post data. NYLPI is on the CCIT-NYC steering committee.

To fund a non-police response system, Hauck asked the City to redirect about $100 million per year from the New York Police Department (NYPD) — less than 1% of annual NYPD spending (roughly $11 billion in FY 2020). The proposal is based on current funding amounts for CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), a non-police mental health crisis response program, in Eugene, Oregon, that has operated successfully for over 30 years without any serious injuries to workers or people experiencing mental health crises.

Access Hauck’s full testimony using this link.

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