September 5, 2023
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New York City committed to closing the infamous Rikers Island by 2027. Today, however, the number of people in New York City jails is climbing, more than half of those incarcerated have a mental health diagnosis, and one in five has a serious mental illness. The jail is the largest mental health provider in the City and among the largest in the world, and the burdens of this dysfunctional system fall most heavily on Black and brown communities. The state of affairs is inhumane to those incarcerated, an obstacle to the City’s promise of closing Rikers, and a threat to the safety of people living with mental illness and New York more generally. Please join Lauren Jones, NCAJ's Legal and Policy Director, in this discussion with Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Mental Health Court Judge Matthew D'Emic, Bronx Defenders' Deputy Executive Director Wesley Caines, and Fountain House Chief Strategic Growth Officer Dr. Ayesha Delany-Brumsey as we consider Less Jail, More Wellness: How NYC's Mental Health Response is Key to Closing Rikers.

Register here and join us from 6:30 to 8 pm on September 13th in Fordham Law School's Costantino Room, 150 West 62nd street, 2nd Floor (or, view online, link provided following registration).

Learn more about the National Center for Access to Justice and about our event cosponsors:

Recent Articles

Rikers and Mental Illness

Join us on September 13th at 6:30 pm as NCAJ's Legal & Policy Director Lauren Jones leads this panel of NYC leaders in this timely and critical conversation...

In NY Times Op Ed, NCAJ asks "What's Wrong with Getting a Little Free Legal Advice"

NCAJ Executive Director David Udell and Fordham Law Prof. Bruce Green describe in their New York Times Op Ed why the First Amendment protects the freedom of a reverend in the South Bronx to talk with community residents about the basic problems of everyday life including by advising them on how to complete court forms provided by the New York Courts for use by lay people.

New Findings on Fines & Fees Policies, Released Today by the National Center for Access to Justice, Rank the States & Provide a 50-State Policy Reform Agenda

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NCAJ Files Amicus Brief to Protect Access to Justice for Indigent People in Prison

On June 25 the National Center for Access to Justice filed a brief as lead amicus (“friend of the court”) in Rosa v. Doe in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On behalf of nine organizations, the amicus brief urges the Circuit Court to guide its federal district courts on how to ensure that people in state prison are not forced by substantial federal court filing fees to choose between pursuing justice in court and covering their “necessary expenses” including their expenditures for family members.