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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 8, 2021 12:18 PM
From: Representative Patrick J. Harkins
To: All House members
Subject: Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee
The American mental health system is in shambles, and unfortunately our criminal justice system has been forced to pick up the slack. Overall, approximately 20% of inmates in jails and 15% of inmates in state prisons are now estimated to have a serious mental illness. Police officers are forced to act as case workers, putting the lives of everyone involved in danger, and our prisons are unequipped to deal with such a large number of inmates with mental illnesses.
My bill takes a step towards addressing this issue by creating the Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The committee will provide advice on policy relating to mental health and the criminal justice system. In addition, this bill creates a grant program focused on planning, implementing, and expanding initiatives related to public safety and mental health.
Few families are untouched by mental illness: according to the CDC, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience a mental illness every year. It is imperative that we take meaningful, evidence-based action to improve Pennsylvania’s mental health system. To that end, please join me in sponsoring this legislation to make our communities safer and healthier.

Introduced as HB1557