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Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund Think Tank member and journalist Peter Earley lecturing a class at USC's Saks Institute on issues related to the decriminalization of mental illness.

Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund

Changing the process by which people with mental illness enter jails and prisons and by creating alternatives to incarcerating people with mental illness

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More Infor
  • 360,000

    individuals with mental health challenges jailed
  • $1 billion

    spent each year to incarcerate the mentally ill
  • 50%

    of prisoners have mental health challenges

A fund ready for donors. The Dorothea Dix Think Tank was created by Dr. Dean Brooks to decriminalize mental illness. Dr.  Brooks, former superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital best known for his role in the film, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, assembled a panel of experts in mental health and the law to discuss and recommend solutions for what has become a national scandal.

Where the problem lies

More than 360,000 Americans suffering from mental health challenges such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are in jails and prisons. The largest public mental health facility in America is not a hospital. It’s the Los Angeles County jail. On any given day, it houses 3,000 inmates with mental health challenges. The cost is staggering in both wasted tax dollars and in human suffering. Two of the driving forces behind this shift from treatment to incarceration are an ongoing lack of access to meaningful community-based treatment services and misapplication of civil commitment laws.

Help is on the way

The fund has brought together a panel of recognized experts who have “hands on” experience both in mental health and our justice system. They include: Dr. Dean Brooks, retired superintendent of Oregon State Hospital; Pete Earley, author of Crazy; Dr. Darold Treffert; Dr. Paul Fink; Dr. Richard Lamb; Elyn Saks JD, Director of the Saks Institute at USC; Al Bendich, JD; Dr. Steven Sharfstein; Judge Steven Leifman; Dr. Jerry Dennis; Fred Frese, PhD; Dennie Brooks; Greg Roberts, current superintendent of Oregon State Hospital; Max Williams, JD, Executive Director of the Oregon Community Foundation;  Janine Francolini, Chair of The Flawless Foundation; and Gina Nikkel, PhD, Excellence President & CEO.

Dean Brooks challenged this group to use their expertise and their extensive contacts to effectively alter the impact of the Lessard decision and help divert individuals in need to care and treatment.

Please support us by donating to the Dorothea Dix Think Tank Fund.

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