Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interview with NAMI's Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award Recipient, Judge Manley

The Criminal Justice Symposium at last week’s NAMI Convention in San Francisco featured excellent presentations by Judge Stephen V. Manley of Santa Clara County’s Mental Health Court and Kathleen Connolly-Lacey who co-founded San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court. Santa Clara’s Mental Health Court is the largest such court in the nation, serving 1,600 individuals with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, most of whom have been charged with felonies. San Francisco’s Behavioral Court is a collaboration in the best sense of the word between the court system and the mental health system. Individuals served by the Court (also primarily charged with felonies) have access to an array of services, including Assertive Community Treatment, supportive housing, and supported employment.

A particularly moving moment occurred when Judge Manley introduced a young woman who was a graduate of his Court five years ago. Since her arrest and diversion, she has made great progress in recovery, has moved to Albuquerque, NM and was attending the NAMI Convention as a representative of NAMI-New Mexico. She later told me that she believes that Judge Manley’s compassion and support “saved my life.”

Prior to speaking at the Convention, Judge Manley, this year’s recipient of NAMI’s Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award, stopped by the studio’s of KQED, Northern California’s public radio station, and gave an interview about the Santa Clara Court. Here is a link to that interview.


Thanks to Judge Manley and Ms. Connolly-Lacey for their excellent presentations and for compassion and strong commitment to recovery for people with mental illnesses.

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