2014 Press Releases

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 a 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 (PDF)

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 Vidoe, and Download “A Way Forward” (PDF)

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 (PDF)

May 7, 2014 – Bazelon Announces Support for Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act
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 (PDF)

March 18, 2014 – Court-Approved Settlement Gives NY Adult Home Residents Their Lives Back
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 (PDF)

February 12, 2014 – Advocates Applaud President for Ending Sub-Minimum Wages for People with Disabilities in New Federal Contracts
“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 (PDF)

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
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 (PDF)