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PBS Frontline Report On Criminalization Airs On May 10

Request that Congress Fund P.L. 108-414 to Bring an End to the Housing of People with Mental Illness in the Nation’s Jails and Prisons

May 10, 2005

On May 10, PBS will broadcast a documentary entitled "The New Asylums", an in-depth look at the realities of mental illness filmed inside the Ohio state prison system. The documentary will portray in moving and disturbing detail a reality that NAMI members are all too familiar with – our nation’s jails and prisons have become de-facto psychiatric treatment facilities. Check your local listings for the time that this important documentary will air in your community. Click here for more information.

The documentary provides a timely opportunity for advocates to contact key members of Congress to request funding for P.L. 108-414, "The Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004." This Act, originally sponsored by Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Congressman Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), provides $50 million in federal resources for a variety of important services, including jail diversion, correctional psychiatric treatment, and community reentry services. However, these resources will not be provided until Congress appropriates money for this program.

Action Needed

Next week, the House Subcommittee responsible for appropriating money for programs administered by the U.S. Justice Department will begin working on its FY 2006 Appropriations Committee. The Senate Subcommittee with the same responsibilities will begin work soon after. If your Representative or Senator serves on one of these Committees, it is particularly important that contact him or her and urge their support for full funding of P.L.108-414. The Members of these Committees are listed below. Enter your zip code below to access a sample letter on this issue and a list of your represenattive to contact now.  If you do not see the box for entering your zip code, click here.

Thank you for your advocacy!

House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Science, State, Justice and Commerce and Related Agencies

Frank R. Wolf, (R – VA, Chairman)

Alan B. Mollahan (D – WV, Ranking Member)

Dave Weldon (R – FL, Vice-Chair)

Charles H. Taylor (R – NC)

Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL.)

Virgil Goode (R – VA)

Ray LaHood (R – IL)

John Abney Culbertson (R – TX)

Rodney Alexander (R – LA)

Jose E. Serrano (D – NY)

Robert E. "Bud" Cramer, Jr. (D – AL)

Patrick J. Kennedy (D – R)

Chaka Fattah (D- PA)

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science

Richard Shelby (R – AL, Chair)

Barbara Mikulski (D-MD, Ranking Member)

Judd Gregg (R – NH)

Ted Stevens (R – AK)

Pete Domenici (R – NM)

Mitch McConnell (R – KY)

Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R – TX)

Sam Brownback (R – KS)

Christopher Bond (F – MO)

Daniel Inouye (D – HI)

Patrick Leahy (D – VT)

Herbert Kohl (D – WI)

Patty Murray (D – WA)

Tom Harkin (D – IA)

Richard Durbin (D – IL)


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