It’s Time for Real Treatment and Rehabilitative Options for Persons with Mental Illness

My criminal law practice isn’t dwindling when it comes to representing individuals who have mental health and developmental disabilities. And, the same goes for my criminal defense colleagues who frequently ask where they can get their clients with mental health disabilities help. I am consistently disappointed with prosecutors and judges that are uneducated about various diseases, disabilities, and addictions. How could this be that they still fight over 1 point on an IQ scale, or think PTSD was what women get before their time of the month?  And, how could it be that I am still shocked every day I walk in a courtroom that they just don’t get it? Please surprise me!

But, because it’s been 20 years and I don’t expect a big surprise coming around the bend, I do know one thing that can change. I know that if there were some real treatment or rehabilitative resolutions a defender could present to a judge or prosecutor as an alternative to incarceration, more than a few individuals would end up getting the help that they need instead of ending up with the only option (incarceration) that the judges and prosecutors are educated about.

Please see an article from the Huffington Post on “Battling Against the Criminalization of Persons with Mental Illness: A Matter of Social Justice.”



Iris Eytan is a Partner at Reilly Pozner LLP. She practices Criminal Defense with an emphasis in mental health defenses.