Dec 1, 2022
NY’s new program to force mentally ill into treatment draws comparisons to Newsom’s CARE courts Transcript
New York’s new initiative to involuntarily hospitalize mentally ill people has drawn comparisons to California’s potential CARE Courts which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September. Read the transcript here.
Transcribe Your Own Content
Try Rev and save time transcribing, captioning, and subtitling.
Forcing the mentally ill off the streets and into treatment. Tonight, New York City’s mayor says it has to be done to stop crime and a humanitarian crisis.
Well, Governor Newsom signed similar legislation in California two months ago, but is it even legal? KCAL9 political reporter Tom Wait is here now with details.
Tom Wait (00:18):
Hey, good evening to you Jeff and Susie. Our legal analyst says forced treatment can be legal, but it all depends on how it’s done. Advocates say programs like this are necessary to help those who cannot help themselves, but there are also concerns about stripping away people’s rights. In LA sprawling homeless encampments mental illness is a major factor keeping many on the streets and it’s also leading to rising crime. Just two weeks ago a nine year old boy was stabbed by a homeless man yelling incoherently as the boy was shopping at a downtown LA Target with his family.
Mayor Eric Adams (00:54):
I want to talk to you about a crisis we see all around us. [inaudible 00:00:59].
Tom Wait (00:58):
That’s New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams this week addressing his city about its own homeless crisis and crime connected with the unhoused. Adams announcing a program that will allow authorities to force mentally ill people living on the streets into hospitalization if they are deemed to be a harm to themselves or others.
Mayor Eric Adams (01:17):
If severe mental illness is causing someone to be unsheltered and a danger to themselves we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need.
Tom Wait (01:31):
New York’s new initiative is drawing comparisons to Governor Gavin Newsom’s program known as CARE Courts. Newsom signed the law back in September that allows authorities to force mentally ill unhoused people into treatment.
Veronica Lewis (01:43):
I understand all sides of it and I know it’s complex. [inaudible 00:01:47].
Tom Wait (01:46):
Veronica Lewis is a director with HOPICS, an organization that provides an array of services to the unhoused. Lewis says there are pros and cons to forcing people into treatment.
Veronica Lewis (01:56):
Some of the things I heard from an outreach team and other folks is we’ve literally seen people die. We tried everything we could to get them indoors because they’re not appropriate to be outside because of their illness and we couldn’t.
Tom Wait (02:06):
But Lewis points out there’s another side to the issue of forced care.
Veronica Lewis (02:10):
Quite frankly, minority families or families without a lot of resources that are low income usually get the worst end of the stick in terms of having to really jump through hoops to prove something in order to restore somebody’s rights.
Tom Wait (02:23):
Loyola Law Professor Jessica Levinson explains how Newsom’s new law is intended to work.
Prof. Jessica Levinson (02:29):
There are federal and state protections when it comes to providing people who are mentally ill with treatment that they may not want or forcing them into a hospitalization situation. So there are protections in place. People are required to have due process under the law, but all of this depends on the right training and the right enforcement. And when you lack either one of those things, you can have a legal problem.
Tom Wait (02:55):
The head of the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row says there is a dire need for authorities to have the option for forced treatment.
Rev. Andy Bales (03:02):
I’m happy for New York, but I’m afraid they’re going to be more aggressive about doing so while at the same time being more compassionate. And it’s not compassionate to leave somebody devastated by either addiction or mental illness on the streets defend for themselves to die.
Tom Wait (03:22):
Incoming LA mayor Congresswoman Karen Bass says she is in favor of CARE Courts, but says how the program is implemented is key. Live in the newsroom I’m Tom Wait. Susie, back to you.