NEW YORK CITY – In response to Mayor Adams’s announcement that the NYPD and FDNY will begin detaining and forcibly hospitalizing people with perceived mental illness – even when they pose no imminent harm – the following statement is attributable to NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman:
“The Mayor is playing fast and loose with the legal rights of New Yorkers and is not dedicating the resources necessary to address the mental health crises that affect our communities. The federal and state constitutions impose strict limits on the government’s ability to detain people experiencing mental illness – limits that the Mayor’s proposed expansion is likely to violate. Forcing people into treatment is a failed strategy for connecting people to long-term treatment and care.
“Unless we adequately invest in the long-term health and well-being of New Yorkers facing mental illness and our chronic lack of housing, the current mental health crisis will continue. The decades-old practice of sweeping deep-seated problems out of public view may play well for the politicians, but the problems will persist – for vulnerable people in desperate need of government services and for New Yorkers.
“The Mayor’s attempt to police away homelessness and sweep individuals out of sight is a page from the failed Giuliani playbook. With no real plan for housing, services, or supports, the administration is choosing handcuffs and coercion.”