Press Release: Joe Prude and the Daniel’s Law Coalition Call for Pilot Funding in NYS Fiscal Year 2025 Budget

Baerga v. City of New York, CCIT-NYC, Community Justice, Daniel's Law, Disability Justice, Health Justice, Media Coverage, News, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response, de la Cruz vs. NYC

Daniel's Law Coalition logo - Daniel's Law in a serif font with a green ribbon above the i.

Rochester, New York – April 17, 2024 – It has been just over four years since Daniel Prude died of asphyxiation after being restrained by police officers when experiencing a mental health crisis in Rochester. Daniel’s death was both tragic and preventable, like many other deaths following police interactions during a mental health emergency. Far too many people have died at the hands of the police because New York has not invested in appropriate health responses as an alternative to police for mental health and substance use-related emergencies.

Since Daniel’s death, his family, mental health advocates, and New Yorkers who are directly affected by the crisis response system have been pushing for the passage of Daniel’s Law, which would create teams of peers – individuals with lived mental health experience – and EMTs to be the primary responders for these health emergencies when police are not required. Although the NYS Legislature and Governor Hochul have failed to pass Daniel’s Law this year, they must still act now to fund pilot programs to begin testing proper implementation of this desperately needed change to our system. We urge the Governor and Legislature to honor Daniel Prude – and the many others whose lives have been lost unnecessarily – by funding a pilot program to finally offer New Yorkers in need the correct health response during a health emergency. 

Statement from Joe Prude

“As we near the state budget being finalized, I ask Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature to aid in the process of restoration and healing for my family and for the City of Rochester. For the first time in a long time, my family felt a sense of hope when we saw funding for a Daniel’s Law Pilot in the Senate and Assembly One-House Budgets. Now, it’s up to Governor Hochul and the NYS Legislature to bring this process home.  

Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins: Please make sure that my brother’s death was not in vain. I ask that you fund the Daniel’s Law pilot to create a new system that recognizes the humanity of people experiencing mental health crises and treats them with care and compassion.“

Statement from Daniel’s Law Sponsor Assemblymember Harry Bronson: 

“In the four years since Daniel Prude’s untimely and preventable death, advocates, family members, peers, and legislators throughout New York State have been working together to push for change to our crisis response model — from one of force and control to one of compassion and care. This continued conversation, as well as the Daniel’s Law Task Force, has been a beacon of hope that a more compassionate, dignified, and just, peer-led response model is attainable. Funding the Daniel’s Law Pilot is the necessary next step to bring us closer to this reality, so that no other New Yorker will lose their life due to an improper response to a mental health crisis. I stand with Daniel Prude’s family, the Daniel’s Law Coalition, and my colleague, Senator Samra Brouk, to urge the Legislature to say his name and fund the Daniel’s Law Pilot Program in the final budget.” 

Statement from Daniel’s Law Sponsor Senator Samra Brouk: 

“As the Senate Sponsor of Daniel’s Law and Chair of the Senate Committee on Mental Health, I remain encouraged by the progress we have made in honoring Daniel Prude’s memory. We’ve created a 9-8-8 crisis line for mental health and substance use emergencies. We’ve funded a Daniel’s Law Task Force, designed to seek community input on how to best implement Daniel’s Law statewide. We can build on that progress in this year’s budget by funding a Daniel’s Law Pilot Program that will provide long-overdue funding to programs that meet the tenets of Daniel’s Law. I look forward to working in partnership with advocates, my colleagues in the Legislature including Assemblymember Harry Bronson, and the Prude family as we continue to transform crisis response in New York. Together, we can ensure that all people in crisis are met with the care and compassion they deserve.”

About the Daniel’s Law Coalition: 

The Daniel’s Law Coalition seeks to pass legislation in New York State that would end our over-reliance on police as first responders to mental health and substance use crises. Daniel’s Law aims to provide better support and resources for individuals experiencing such crises by designating community-based teams as the first responders to the crises. These first responders will include those with lived mental health experience and/or lived experience with alcohol use or substance use disorders, as well as those already practicing trauma-informed mental health work in their communities, in addition to emergency medical technicians. Daniel’s Law would also create a statewide council of mental health experts to develop training and rules for all mental health crisis calls, and provide resources to mental health emergencies. These rules and training would be fully integrated into existing 988 and other emergency dispatch services. 

Members of the Coalition include:  Alliance for Rights and Recovery (formerly NYAPRS) ● Community Access ● Correct Crisis Intervention Today – NYC (CCIT-NYC) ● East Flatbush Village, Inc. ● Elders & Allies to Free The People Rochester ● Fountain House ● Free The People – Rochester ● Friends of Recovery – New York ● Long Island United to Transform Policing and Community Safety ● New York Civil Liberties Union ● National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York State (NAMI-NYS) ● National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City, Inc. (NAMI-NYC) ● National Alliance on Mental Illness – Queens/Nassau ● New Hour for Women and Children ● New York Lawyers for the Public Interest ● NNLB ● Partnership for the Public Good ● Public Issues Committee of the Long Island Council of Churches ● Rochester City Wide Tenants Union ● Showing Up for Racial Justice – Rochester ● Showing Up for Racial Justice – NYC ● Social Justice Committee of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock ● The Supportive Housing Network of New York (SHNNY) ● VOICE Buffalo ● Voices Of Community Activists And Leaders – NY (VOCAL-NY) 

 


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