2015 Press Releases

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 (PDF)

August 14, 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 Press Release (PDF)

June 16, 2015 — The “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015” Represents Wrong Policy Direction
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 Press Release (PDF)

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 (PDF)

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 arrest, incarceration and harsh punishment for Reginald “Neli” Latson, a young man with autism and an intellectual disability. Read the Press Release (PDF)

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 the Press Release (PDF)

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 Press Release (PDF)