July 5, 2016 - Bazelon Calls for Comments Against New Social Security Administration Rule on FBI Background Check Database
The Bazelon Center urges people to submit comments opposing the Social Security Administration's proposed rule to report individuals with a representative payee due to a mental impairment to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System gun database. Read the Action Alert here . . .
June 20, 2016 - Bazelon Center Statement on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Approval of the Murphy Bill (HR 2646)
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is encouraged that the version of H.R. 2646 that passed out of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on June 15, 2016 omits some of the most harmful provisions of the original bill. However, we continue to have concerns about some aspects of the bill that passed the committee. Read the statement here . . .
May 24, 2016 - Bazelon Center, UMass Medical School Highlight Employment Opportunities for People with Psychiatric Disabilities
A new brief by UMass Medical School and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law outlines policy opportunities that can be leveraged to expand opportunities for people with psychiatric disabilities to successfully obtain and maintain employment, including increased access to career development, supported employment, and critical health services.Read the press release here . . .
May 18, 2016 -- Bazelon Supports Agreement that Commits Georgia to Improving Community Services for People with Disabilities
The State of Georgia and the United States Department of Justice today filed in federal district court an agreement to expand the capacity and improve the quality of community-based services the State provides to individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. The Bazelon Center represents nearly a dozen Georgia mental health groups and advocates that participated in crafting the agreement. Read the press release here . . .
May 1, 2016 -- Bazelon Center President Robert Bernstein's Statement on National Mental Health Awareness Month
This year's National Mental Health Awareness Month gives us all an occasion to reflect on the direction we take on this critically important issue. At the Bazelon Center we devote our resources and our energy fighting to ensure that the nation moves forward on mental health instead of turning back. Read the statement here . . .
February 16, 2016 -- Bazelon Joins in Lawsuit Charging Pasadena Schools with Discrimination Against Students with Mental Health Disabilities
Students with mental health needs are denied an equal education as a result of their placement in a segregated school operated by the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), according to a class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and co-counsels.Read the press release here . . .
January 5, 2016 -- Bazelon Response to the President’s Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence
The Bazelon Center. The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is deeply concerned that some of the President’s recently announced actions to address gun violence wrongly target people with mental illness as a significant source of the problem. Specifically, these proposals include an effort to report individuals with mental illness who have representative payees to manage their Social Security benefits for inclusion in the gun background check database. People with mental illness are responsible for less than five percent of violence, and are not more likely than their neighbors to engage in violence. Read the statement here . . .
November 25, 2015 -- Bazelon Center and Coalition Partners Call on Georgia to End Separate and Unequal Education for Children with Disabilities
A broad coalition of advocacy groups – including the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law – is urging the state of Georgia to transform its separate and unequal educational program serving thousands of children with behavioral disabilities into a system that provides needed services and supports to integrate students into their own local schools. The coalition formed after a July 15th letter from the U.S. Department of Justice finding the state’s program illegally segregates children with behavioral disabilities and provides them with unequal educational opportunities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Read the press release here . . .
August 15, 2015 -- Statement on the ABA's Call for Ending Discriminatory Mental Health Screening of Bar Applicants
The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law applauds the American Bar Association's call for an end to mental health screening of people applying for admission to the bar. The ABA's House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly at the organization's annual meeting this month to approve a resolution urging state entities that license lawyers to eliminate questions about applicants' mental health history, diagnosis or treatment and focus instead on conduct that brings into question a person's fitness to practice law.The Bazelon Center played a central role in advocating for the resolution, as well as in recent developments that brought attention to discrimination against bar applicants based on mental health diagnosis or treatment. Read the statement here . . .
August 4, 2015 -- Bazelon Mourns the Passing of Trustee Robert "Bo" Burt
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and its Board of Trustees mourn the passing of Trustee Robert “Bo” Burt, whose 25 years of dedicated service on the board included a decade as chairman. “Bo Burt’s contributions to the Bazelon Center and to the cause of protecting and expanding the rights of people with mental illness are immeasurable,” said Bazelon President and CEO Robert Bernstein. “His expertise on constitutional law and how it applies to the civil rights issues surrounding mental health helped chart the course of the center’s work on behalf of adults and children with mental illness and disabilities.” . . . Read the statement here. . .
June 16, 2015 -- The “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015” Represents Wrong Policy Direction
New bill would counter key values and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act
June 16, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing today on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646), introduced on June 4 by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). Groups across the disability and civil rights communities were deeply opposed to the 2013 version of the bill, which had numerous controversial provisions that would negatively impact the civil and privacy rights of persons with psychiatric disabilities. The new bill includes few changes to those concerning provisions...Read the full press release here...
March 18, 2015 -- President's Task Force on Policing Should Seek to Prevent Law Enforcement Encounters for People with Mental Illness
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is urging the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to include recommendations in its final report that encourage states to adopt strategies to reduce encounters with the criminal justice system for people with mental illness and help states pay for the necessary services and supports, including with funds available through Medicaid expansion. Bazelon also calls on the task force to back community-based services that help people with mental illness from having confrontations with law enforcement in the first place. . . Read the press release here . .
January 20, 2015 -- Governor Grants Reginald "Neli" Latson Pardon in Response to Advocates Call for Treatment, Not Punishment
Today Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a conditional pardon, finally ending the nearly five-year, inhumane cycle of arrst, incarceratoin and harsh punishment for Reginald "Neli" Latson, a young man with autism and an intellectual disability. . . Read the statement here . . .
January 12, 2015 -- Bazelon Center Joins Calls for San Francisco to Withdraw Supreme Court Appeal that Could Weaken ADA Protections for Millions of People with Disabilities
The Bazelon Center has joined with the ACLU of Northern California and more than 40 other organizations representing Americans with disabilities in urging the city and county of San Francisco to withdraw an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court that could seriously weaken protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) . . . Read more here. . .
January 6, 2015 -- Bazelon Center Statement on the Plight of Reginald Latson
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law today called for care rather than incarceration for Reginald Latson and others like him across the country who are unjustly punished for behavior that results from their mental or developmental disability. . . Read the statement here . . .
September 24, 2014 -- Alison Barkoff Returns to Bazelon as Advocacy Director
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is pleased to announce Alison Barkoff’s return to the Center’s staff as Director of Advocacy. Ms. Barkoff was as a staff attorney with the Bazelon Center from 2005 to 2010, before joining the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where she served for four years as Special Counsel for Olmstead Enforcement in the Civil Rights Division. . . . Read the press release here
August 15, 2014 -- Bazelon Center’s Complaints Result in Agreement Ending Discrimination Against Bar Applicants Based on Mental Health Conditions
The U.S. Department of Justice today announced settlement of its investigation into complaints the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law filed on behalf of two Louisiana attorneys who faced discriminatory questions concerning their mental health and discriminatory requirements for “conditional” admission to the bar solely because of their mental health diagnosis and treatment. The DOJ says the agreement “ensures the right of qualified bar applicants with mental health disabilities to have equal access to the legal profession as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”.... Read the press release here ...
July 1, 2014 -- Bazelon and ACLU SoCal Offer Roadmap for Diversion Programs to Keep People with Mental Illness Out of Los Angeles County Jails
The ACLU of Southern California and the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law today released “A Way Forward,” a report that makes recommendations for diversion programs for Los Angeles County jails inmates with mental illness who are charged with non-violent offenses. Such programs save money, improve public safety by dramatically reducing recidivism, and reduce jail overcrowding. The proposed programs would direct nonviolent offenders with mental illness to effective community-based programs that combine treatment with supportive housing, as well as medication management and employment assistance.... Read the press release, watch a video and download "A Way Forward" here ...
June 19, 2014 -- ABA Journal Highlights Bazelon's Success Fighting Discrimination Based on Bar Applicants' Mental Health
Following an investigation into a complaint filed by the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the U.S. Department of Justice has put bar associations across the country on notice that assessing applicants' fitness to practice law based on mental health status may be discriminatory and in violation of federal law, an article in the June issue of the ABA Journal reports... Read the press release ...
June 9, 2014 -- John Head Joins Bazelon Staff as Communications Director
WASHINGTON – The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is pleased to announce that John Head has joined the Center as communications director. “John’s experiences as a journalist and in both public and private sector communications make him a great addition to our staff as the leader of the Center’s communications effort,” said Robert Bernstein, the Bazelon Center’s president and CEO. ... Read the press release ...
May 7, 2014 -- Bazelon Announces Support for Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act
Washington -- The bill, H.R.4574, was introduced by Representative Ron Barber, with co-sponsors Representatives Diana DeGette, Grace Napolitano, Doris Matsui, and Paul Tonko. The bill puts the focus of mental health reform where it belongs: on the gaps in community-based services ... Read the press release ...
March 18, 2014 -- Court-Approved Settlement Gives NY Adult Home Residents Their Lives Back
NewYork -- The settlement will allow adult home residents "to blaze their own trails, pursue their hopes and dreams," as one resident told Judge Garaufis at the January 9, 2014, hearing on the settlement agreement. Read the press release…
March 6, 2014 -- Bazelon Center Statement on the Senate’s Failure to Confirm Debo Adegbile as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
Washington -- “The U.S. Senate’s failure to confirm Debo Adegbile is deeply disappointing," stated Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law President and CEO Robert Bernstein, Ph.D. "A widely respected lawyer, Mr. Adegbile possesses extraordinary experience in civil rights enforcement, and is eminently qualified to serve as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights." Read the statement...
February 12, 2014 -- Advocates Applaud President for Ending Sub-Minimum Wages for People with Disabilities in New Federal Contracts
Washington -- "This is a remarkable step toward ending the discriminatory practice of paying sub-minimum wages based on a person's disability," stated Robert Bernstein, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Read the press release…
February 10, 2014 -- U.S. Justice Dept. Finds States Violate ADA If Inquire into Mental Health Condition or Treatment When Assessing Fitness to Practice Law
Washington -- The U.S. Department of Justice has informed Lousiana officials that they are subjecting law graduates who seek admission to the bar to unlawful inquiries concerning their mental health condition and treatment. Read the press release...
December 12, 2013 -- Response to Rep. Tim Murphy's Bill
Washington -- Today, Congressman Tim Murphy introduced legislation that, if passed, would reverse some of the advances of the last 30 years in mental health services and supports. The Bazelon Center and other organizations provide analysis of the potential consequences. Read the press release...
July 31, 2013 -- Disability Community Unveils Key Principles of Community Integration
Washington -- At two congressional briefings celebrating the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Monday, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law unveiled a set of consensus principles reflecting the disability community’s shared vision of community integration. Read the press release...
July 23, 2013 -- Landmark Settlement for New York City Adult Home Residents
New York -- Lawyers for adult home residents, together with the U.S. Department of Justice, reached a landmark settlement with New York State. The settlement ensures that thousands of residents of 23 large “adult homes”—board and care homes serving primarily people with mental illnesses—will have the opportunity to live in their own homes with the services they need to succeed and be participants in their communities. Read the press release...
July 11, 2013 -- EEOC to Advance Federal Employment of People with Disabilities
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law applauds the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for advancing federal employment of people with disabilities by committing to provide a more detailed framework for federal agencies to “give full consideration to the hiring, placement and advancement of qualified individuals with disabilities.” Read the press release...
June 20, 2013 -- Bar Examiners Screening for Mental Illness Violates the ADA
Washington -- In response to a recent proposal, mental health experts, mental health organizations, lawyers with mental health conditions, and disability rights practitioners call on the nation’s boards of bar examiners to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when assessing applicants for admission to the bar. Read the press release...
June 5, 2013 -- New HUD Olmstead Guidance Step in Right Direction
Washington -- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued new guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Olmstead case applies to HUD’s programs and activities. The guidance makes clear that HUD and entities that receive financial assistance from HUD must provide housing for people with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Integrated settings, according to the guidance, are “those that provide individuals with disabilities opportunities to live, work, and receive services in the greater community, like individuals without disabilities.” Read the press release...
May 29, 2013 -- Bazelon Center Strongly Supports Nomination of EEOC Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law extends its full support to the nomination of Commissioner Chai R. Feldblum for a second term on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). “Commissioner Feldblum has been a champion for people with disabilities and has earned a second term to continue her work,” said Bazelon Center President and CEO Robert Bernstein, PhD. Read the press release...
April 17, 2013 -- Wrong Focus: Mental Health in the Gun Safety Debate
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law today released Wrong Focus: Mental Health in the Gun Safety Debate, an update of a paper originally issued on April 16, 2013. Highlighting key research, the paper explains why the gun safety debate should not focus on mental health or people with psychiatric disabilities. Read the press release...
March 28, 2013 -- Bazelon Center Backs Evidence-Based Alternatives to Increased Law Enforcement in Our Nation's Schools
Washington -- "The presence of armed law enforcement officers in schools has not been shown to reduce school violence, but has been shown to result in the disparate discipline and criminal justice system involvement of children with disabilities, particularly those with mental disabilities," stated Lewis Bossing, senior staff attorney with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Read the press release...
March 13, 2013 -- Bazelon Center Lauds the Work of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law fully supports the work of Tom Perez as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Read the press release...
January 16, 2013 -- New Bazelon Center Analysis on the Relationship between Psychiatric Hospital Bed Availability and Firearm Homicides
Washington -- In the wake of recent tragedies involving the use of firearms and resulting calls for more inpatient psychiatric treatment, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has conducted an analysis examining the relationship between homicides with firearms and inpatient psychiatric bed availability. Read the press release... |
Read the report...
December 17, 2012 -- Bazelon Center Statement on Sandy Hook Shooting
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law joins the rest of the nation in mourning the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Read the press release...
August 24, 2012 -- Historic Victory for Virginians with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Their Families; Court Approves Agreement for System Transformation
Richmond, Va. -- The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has approved a comprehensive agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Commonwealth of Virginia that will provide a long-overdue opportunity to thousands of individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to receive the services they need to live successfully in their homes and communities. Read the press release...
August 24, 2012 -- Stakeholder Group Lauds Agreement to Serve North Carolinians with Mental Illnesses in the Community Instead of Adult Care Homes
Raleigh, NC -- A diverse group of North Carolina stakeholders applauded the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the state of North Carolina for reaching an agreement yesterday to end the state's reliance on large, segregated adult care homes for people with mental illnesses. The state must develop 3,000 new units of supported housing, among other requirements. Read the press release...
July 12, 2012 -- Bazelon Center Calls on Congress to Enact Federal Standards on Restraint and Seclusion in Schools and to Prioritize Proven, Positive Alternatives
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law applauds Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Ranking Member Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for holding today’s important hearing, “Beyond Seclusion and Restraint: Creating Positive Learning Environments for All Students.” Read the press release...
June 28, 2012 -- After Supreme Court Victory for Health Insurance Reforms, Work Turns to the States for Now-Optional Medicaid Expansion
Washington -- Today the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed nearly all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Unfortunately, the Court ruled that the ACA's expansion of Medicaid to newly eligible individuals with incomes below 133% of poverty can only be a state option. The Bazelon Center will soon release a tool explaining the ACA's many opportunities for states to improve services for people with serious mental disorders. Read the press release...
May 30, 2012 -- Bazelon Center Announces the First David and Mickey Bazelon Fellow, Todd Rubin
Washington -- The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is pleased to announce the first recipient of the David and Mickey Bazelon Fellowship, Todd Rubin. Rubin will join the Bazelon Center for a two-year public interest fellowship starting in September 2012. Read the press release...
April 26, 2012 -- The Bazelon Center is co-sponsoring a Legislative Briefing on May 9th, 2012 to promote awareness of children's mental health issues.
April 6, 2012 -- Adult Home Residents Suffer a Setback; The Court of Appeals Vacates Judge Garaufis’ Decision on a Technical Ground
New York -- On a technical ground, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a ruling that New York’s practice of segregating thousands of people with mental illnesses in large adult homes constitutes discrimination and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Second Circuit held that plaintiff Disability Advocates, Inc. (DAI), did not have “standing” to bring the lawsuit. Read the press release...
April 6, 2012 -- Coalition of 70 Organizations Submits Statement to Court Supporting Va.-Justice Department Agreement to Strengthen Home- and Community-based Services for People with Disabilities
Richmond, Va. -- A diverse coalition of 70 Virginia stakeholders submitted a statement to the federal court in Richmond today in support of a January 2012 settlement agreement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice that would afford almost 5,000 people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities the chance to receive the services they need to live successfully in their homes and communities. Read the press release | Download PDF of press release |
Read the full statement (PDF)
March 30, 2012 -- Broad Coalition Forms to Support Virginia-Justice Agreement to Strengthen Home- and Community-based Services for People with Disabilities
Richmond, Va. -- A diverse coalition of 50 Virginia stakeholders -- including organizations representing people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families, service providers, and community service boards -- has formed to support a recent settlement between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice. Read the press release...
March 28, 2012 -- U.S. Justice Department Joins Advocates' Lynn E. v. Lynch Suit Citing Lack of Community Mental Health Services in New Hampshire
Concord, NH -- Just weeks after advocates filed a class-action complaint (Lynn E. v. Lynch) against New Hampshire’s failing mental health system, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has stepped in, strengthening advocates' efforts. Read the press release...
March 22, 2012 -- Bazelon Center Marks Health Reform's Two-Year Anniversary with New Report: The Affordable Care Act at Year Two
Washington -- To celebrate the second anniversary of the March 23, 2010, signing of the Affordable Care Act, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has released a new report highlighting many of the law's achievements. "In just its first two years, the Affordable Care Act has already improved the lives of countless Americans," stated Chris Koyanagi, policy director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Read the press release | Read the report
March 20, 2012 -- House Republican Budget Proposal a Path to Instability, Not Prosperity: Bazelon Center Statement
Washington -- The House Republican budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, released today under the leadership of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), would lead the country on a path to instability, not prosperity. Read the statement...
March 7, 2012 -- New Data Affirm Dire Need for Federal Efforts to Support School Success for All Children
Washington -- New national survey data released by the U.S. Department of Education reinforces the need for Congress to pass legislation that expands the use of school-wide positive behavior supports and that provides minimum standards on the use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. Read the press release...
February 23, 2012 -- Disability Community Calls for Greater Affirmative Action by Federal Contractors; Bazelon Center Leads Recommendations
Washington -- The Bazelon Center has spearheaded a coordinated disability community response to proposed rule changes on how federal contractors implement and track nondiscrimination and affirmative action policies for people with disabilities. Read the press release | Read the Bazelon Center comments here | Read the CCD comments here
February 17, 2012 -- Supreme Court Challenge to Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansion Puts at Risk a Host of Other Federal-State Programs; Broad Coalition Files Amicus Brief
Washington -- Law Professor Samuel Bagenstos and attorneys with the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law filed an amicus (or friend of the court) brief today on behalf of a broad coalition of education, healthcare, veterans, child welfare, disability, women's sports, and other organizations, in Florida v. HHS. Read the press release...
February 9, 2012 -- Advocates File Lawsuit Against NH’s Failing Mental Health Care System
Concord, NH -- The Bazelon Center, in collaboration with a number of stakeholders, filed a lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire on behalf of its residents with serious mental illnesses who are or are at risk of being institutionalized in state-run facilities due to the state’s failure to provide community-based mental health services and supports. Read the press release | Read the redacted complaint | Read the fact sheet
January 6, 2012 -- Bazelon Center Remembers Allen and Frank Melville
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Additional releases can be found in our press release archive.