DC defendants with mental health issues aren’t being adequately supported, according to new report

MENTAL HEALTH | A report by the Council for Court Excellence and the DC auditor found that the District’s Department of Behavioral Health needs to improve the way it handles defendants suspected of having mental health issues. The report included recommendations such as increasing funding for mental health providers and mandating specialized training to evaluate defendants. (WaPo, 2/26)

The review found the department fell short in its basic obligation to evaluate the mental fitness of defendants. It said the department should do more to make sure they get treatment and resources such as housing to help them stay out of the criminal justice system.

“There’s this revolving door of incarceration, treatment and relapse and reincarceration for ­often minor and nonviolent offenses,” said Michael D. Hays, a lawyer who co-chaired the report committee. “The costs in human misery and economic costs to D.C. government are substantial.”

WORKFORCE/EQUITY | Nicky Goren, vice chair of WRAG’s Board of Directors and president and CEO of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, discusses the steps her foundation took to build equity into their hiring processes and advises other organizations on how to do the same. (Daily, 2/27)

IMMIGRATIONSupreme Court Declines To Take DACA Case, Leaving It In Place For Now (NPR, 2/26)

– The Urban Institute has released a report studying the impact of DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides private-school scholarships to low-income students, on college enrollment. (Urban Institute, 2/23)

– Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance, discusses why she is passionate about helping low-income youth, and especially black and brown youth, participate in paid internships at leading companies in the US. (Chronicle, 2/26 – Subscription needed)

TRANSPORTATIONDC considers plan to replace streetcar fleet, still has no plans to make riders pay (WTOP, 2/26)

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