The U.S. House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly, 417-10, to pass an amendment by U.S. Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) and Tim Murphy (PA-18) that invests an additional $2 million in crisis-intervention training for state and local law enforcement, along with mental health and substance abuse treatment, and rehabilitation and community re-entry services. The provision was added to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that will be considered tonight.
The funding would be available as grants to law enforcement agencies through the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program.
“The more resources and training we can provide law enforcement to improve their skills to interact with the public, the more likely crises will be resolved peacefully,” Congresswoman Lujan Grisham said. “And the more non-violent, peaceful interactions police have with the public, the more we can strengthen trust between police and the public that they are sworn to protect.”
“This increased funding will provide urgently needed resources to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities,” Congressman Blumenauer said. “We have the opportunity and the means to transform how we treat people experiencing mental illness, by giving our community partners—especially our first responders—the funding to provide people with necessary and appropriate care.”
“By delivering a pathway to psychiatric care through collaboration between the mental health and criminal justice systems, mental health courts meet public safety and community restitution objectives with better outcomes than the traditional courtroom setting for those with serious mental illness that for too long have cycled in and out of court and jail,” said Rep. Tim Murphy. “This important amendment helps expand this model of evidenced-based mental health treatment to millions of Americans across the country.”