THE BLOG
12/23/2014 09:56 am ET Updated Feb 21, 2015

NYPD Shooting: Cuomo Should Sign "Prisoner Mental Health Discharge Planning Bill" Today

Even after a reportedly mentally ill ex-prisoner, Ismaaiyl Brinkley shot New York City Police Department officers, Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is refusing to sign a bill (S7818) that passed both houses and is on his desk right now.

The "Prisoners Mental Health Discharge Planning Bill" would require prison officials to make sure prisoners with mental illness who are being released are
  • given a discharge plan,
  • an appointment with a community program,
  • and enough medications to last until the appointment.
  • It also adds parole officials to the list of people who can refer someone with a mental illness to a hospital for evaluation.

Media reports say Ismaaiyl Brinsley who shot officers Liu Wenjin and Raphael Ramos was reported by his mom to be mentally ill, and reported himself to have been previously institutionalized. He was also previously incarcerated. While Brinsley was not a New York resident, this bill would help prevent violence by similarly situated people who do leave a New York prison. Cuomo should sign it today.

The bill was sponsored Senator Catharine Young and Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell. Supporters include Mental Illness Policy Org, the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYS

We also note that Mayor DeBlasio's Task Force on Mentally Ill at Riker's Island Jail failed to include expansion of Kendra's Law in their recommendations. Kendra's Law reduces homelessness, arrest, violence and incarceration by mentally ill ex-prisoners by keeping them in mandated and monitored community treatment.

While both Albany and NY officials are ignoring the most seriously ill, Rep. Tim Murphy (R.PA) introduced HR 3717, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act which addresses some of the mental illness issues related to the police shootings.

Visit Mental Illness Policy Org. for science based info on serious mental illness intersecting with violence.