Written Testimony on Preventing Recidivism for Individuals with Mental Illness

New York City Council

Joint Hearing: Committee on the Justice System and Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction

Re: Oversight – Preventing Recidivism for Individuals with Mental Illness and Int 0903 – In relation to funds remaining in inmate accounts when inmates are released

June 17, 2019

Written Testimony of The Bronx Defenders

By Julia Solomons, LMSW, Senior Criminal Defense Social Worker – Policy

Chairs Lancman and Ayala, my name is Julia Solomons and I am the Senior Criminal Defense Social Worker focused on policy work at The Bronx Defenders. I first want to thank you both, along with the rest of the committee members, for taking the time to listen to this testimony today. I also want to thank you an the rest of the City Council for dedicating time and energy to think creatively about how to best serve New Yorkers struggling with mental health concerns and, as a result, often cycling through the criminal legal system and city jails. We are excited about the possibility of expanding services for this population and taking a closer look at how to improve the services we currently have. Our recommendations include:

  • Increasing access to free trauma-informed treatment options;
  • Breaking down significant barriers to successful treatment; and
  • Improving and expanding supportive housing programs.

We believe that increasing the city’s capacity in these respects would greatly improve our ability to support our clients with mental health issues in their attempt to gain stability and work towards recovery.

Read hte full testimony here.