TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2017) – National experts, academic scholars from the University of South Florida and interested community members from around the Tampa Bay area will come together on Friday, Oct. 6 for an in-depth discussion on the current state of mental health and criminal justice systems in America.
The event promises to explore several topics surrounding proper treatment for people who suffer from serious mental illness and receive long-term jail sentences. The speakers will cover how to address the need for more trained stakeholders in the criminal justice system, ways to help individuals with mental illness find alternatives besides incarceration, and the latest research on these issues.
Titled “Falling through the Cracks” and sponsored by USF’s College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, the event will be held from 9 a.m. – noon at the University Area Community Development Corporation, located at 14013 North 22nd Street, Tampa, FL 33613.
Speakers include: Judge Steven Leifman, chair of the Florida Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court; Arthur Lurigio, professor at Loyola University Chicago, Department of Psychology; and Kathleen M. Heide, professor at USF, Department of Criminology.
“I hope the colloquium will provide information regarding the intricacies of the mental health and criminal justice systems and help our community develop improved strategies to redirect people with mental illnesses away from the criminal justice system.” said Mary Armstrong, executive director of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at USF, and one of the event organizers.
According to Heide, killings by juveniles have been a societal concern in the United States for more than 40 years. She will discuss the proportionate involvement of youths under 18 in homicide arrests over time, common mental health diagnoses found among this population, and how long-term confinement, when coupled with the lack of mental health treatment and programming, has left some of these juvenile homicide offenders” frozen in time” and still others ill-equipped to make a positive adjustment to society.
Information about resources available in the Tampa Bay region will also be distributed at the event. There is a $10 fee for attendees, and registration is requested by visiting: http://usfcbcs.eventbrite.com.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.