The Bronx Defenders Updated Statement in Response to the Mayor’s New Directive for Involuntary Mental Health Removals


Anthony Chiarito, The Bronx Defenders,


The Bronx Defenders Updated Statement in Response to the Mayor’s New Directive for Involuntary Mental Health Removals

December 2, 2022

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Bronx Defenders issued the following updated statement following the Mayor’s announcement on Tuesday of a new directive which empowers the NYPD and other agencies to forcibly remove people from public spaces and involuntarily hospitalize them based solely on the appearance of mental health conditions, regardless of whether they are deemed a threat to themselves or others:

“We want to be clear: forcibly removing people from the streets and confining them in hospitals against their will is policing and incarceration by another name.

“As public defenders who are accountable to the communities we serve, we acknowledge that our previous statement failed to express our deep concerns regarding the Mayor’s announcement.

“We do not support the Mayor’s harmful, short-sighted policy as it will further criminalize houselessness and disappear our most vulnerable neighbors into jails and hospitals.

“People we represent who have experienced involuntary hospitalization describe it as the most violent and traumatic experience of their lives, even with strong networks of support. Simply put: more policing and involuntary hospitalization does not further public health or safety.

“We urge the Mayor to rescind this policy and instead invest in dignified, community-based healthcare and long-term, supportive housing. New York City can and must do better.”