Coming to PBS tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14:
THE DEFINITION OF INSANITY
An inside look at a Miami program which attempts to help people with mental illness stay out of the prison system.
Due to a unfortunate confluence of factors, over the past sixty years, the criminal justice system also has become the dumping ground for those with mental health care issues. Provided inadequate treatment and instead treated like criminals, they continue to suffer and have higher rates of recidivism, with negative consequences not only for the sufferer, but for their families, community, and the economy. Gabriel London’s informational documentary focuses on an alternative to this punitive system, the Miami-Dade Criminal Mental Health Project (CMHP). Developed by judge Steve Leifman after he realized that the Miami-Dade jail system had become the largest psychiatric care facility in Florida – for those mental health sufferers who were not instead killed by law enforcement – the CMHP works to divert the mentally ill out of the courts and jails and into coordinated community treatment programs. The program has been so successful that other communities around the country have started to implement the Miami model. London’s film – unfortunately hampered by intrusive expository narration – profiles the worthwhile work of the CMHP, following current clients as well as a peer counselor, to show the ups and downs of the program.