The Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) released a new policy brief in partnership with the Legal Action Center today, entitled Medicaid and Financing Health Care for Individuals Involved with the Criminal Justice System. LAC's staff authored the content. Support for the production of this brief was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The brief outlines opportunities for states and localities to improve public health and safety outcomes and reduce spending on corrections and health care services by maximizing the appropriate use of Medicaid coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system.
The Legal Action Center (LAC) has developed easy to read FAQs on the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), also known as the federal parity law, which seeks to eliminate discriminatory access to mental health and substance use disorder (MH and SUD) benefits in certain health insurance coverages.
On October 1, LAC's Senior Criminal Justice Policy Associate, Mark O’Brien, spoke at a Congressional briefing about legislation aimed at improving the accuracy of FBI background checks for employment purposes. The briefing was hosted by Representatives Bobby Scott and Keith Ellison, in collaboration with the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
This 2-hour training explains the employment rights of people with HIV, viral hepatitis and substance use disorders. It focuses on anti-discrimination laws, such as New York City and State Human Rights Laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and touches on issues related to health and life insurance.
Legal Action Center and its National H.I.R.E. Network congratulates the Attorney General and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the August 12th announcement of momentous and sweeping changes to DOJ policies to reduce mass incarceration in the federal prison system. This policy change for people convicted of non-violent offenses and certain drug crimes represents a very significant step toward a more effective, balanced federal approach to criminal justice policy and greater utilization of more cost-effective community-based solutions.
National groups advocating for civil rights and workers’ rights today released a guide for employers to limit use of criminal history in order to avoid unlawful discrimination in hiring applicants for new jobs. The National H.I.R.E. Network, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the National Workrights Institute prepared the guide, "Best Practice Standards: The Proper Use of Criminal Records in Hiring,” in consultation with prominent leaders of the background screening industry. The publication will be the subject of a conference this Fall hosted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York.
In what is believed to be the most detailed and up-to-date analysis of the different types of errors that exist in New York State’s criminal justice records, the Legal Action Center closely examined 3499 RAP sheets from its clients, looking at records from 2008 to 2011 and determined that at least 30% of these records contained at least one error, with some containing as many as ten or more. The actual error rate is almost certainly higher, as LAC identified an additional 7% of the records that appeared to have errors, but could not verify this because of difficulties in obtaining the necessary information from the police, courts, parole, probation and other authorities, especially information on older cases – some of these incomplete records date back to the 1950s and 60’s.
The Legal Action Center's report, Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment in the Criminal Justice System, explains why criminal justice agencies violate Federal anti- discrimination laws and the United States Constitution when they deny access to medications, such as methadone and burprenorphine, to treat opiate addiction. The report addresses the prevalence of opiate addiction in the criminal justice system, the limited availability of methadone maintenance and buprenorphine treatment throughout the criminal justice system, as well as the causes and consequences of this limited availability. The report then analyzes the circumstances in which the denial of access to these medications violates Federal anti-discrimination laws protecting individuals with disabilities and the United States Constitution.
When a young Phoenix man named Gabriel left prison after a four-year term for burglary, he was 21 -- the same age at which his uncle, P. David Lopez, graduated college and saw before him limitless opportunities.
A Brooklyn native used to big-city life, LAC paralegal Lionel Oglesby didn’t expect much from a little barber shop small-talk. But when he got to chatting about work, his barber, David Rivera, perked up at the mention of the Legal Action Center.
The Legal Action Center is pleased to announce the release of a toolkit to help providers obtain federal Byrne JAG funds to support alternatives to incarceration (ATI), reentry, and substance use treatment and prevention services.
The New York Times editorial board weighed in this month on Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to close prisons. Like LAC, The Times stresses that unneeded capacity in the state's prisons costs the state millions of dollars that are desperately needed elsewhere.
The 2013 Arthur Liman Public Interest Awards Benefit will honor Doug Liman, President of Hypnotic, and Jane Sherburne, Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary of Citigroup Inc.
The benefit will be held October 28, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. Purchase your tickets today!
Governor Andrew Cuomo released his $132.5 billion plan for the 2012-2013 budget today, closing an estimated $3.5 billion budget gap with $2 billion in savings and $1.5 billion derived from a reworked tax code that boosted levies on top earners. There are no new taxes or new fees under the plan, and, as agreed last year, the state would spend an additional 4 percent on education and Medicaid. The budget also proposes mandate relief, changes to pensions, and significant reform to the education system.
At this stage of our analysis, we do not see significant reductions or cuts in criminal justice or addiction or HIV services. Read our full preliminary analysis for more details on the key changes in our areas. The Legal Action Center will continue to gather details on the budget from our meetings and conversations with state policymakers and legislative staff.
The 2012 Arthur Liman Public Interest Awards Benefit will honor Elizabeth M. Sacksteder, Deputy General Counsel and Global Head of Litigation and Regulatory Investigations at Citigroup Inc., and Jim and Sue Cusack, founders of the Villa Veritas Foundation.
The benefit will be held October 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York City. Purchase your tickets today!
its recommendations concerning the development of the required mental health and substance use disorder benefits in the essential benefits package.
streamed and downloaded free right here on our site, is a video guide to give people leaving prison the skills and knowledge to find jobs and prepare them for the challenges of re-entry.
Legal Action Center is thrilled to report that two of our re-entry bills and a number of other bills that we and other advocates fought for have now been signed into law!
either Certificates of Relief from Disabilities (CRDs) or Certificates of Good Conduct (CGCs) are accepted for the purpose of overcoming barriers to obtaining employment and occupational licenses.
The National Impact newsletter provides the latest updates from the Legal Action Center and State Associations of Addiction Services' joint National Advocacy Campaign for Smarter and More Effective Alcohol and Drug Policies (NAC). To learn more about the campaign, its goals, accomplishments, and how you can get involved, please visit the NAC website.
This week in the National Impact:
- ■ Health Information Technology Legislation (H.R. 5040) Introduced in the House; Bill Would Make Addiction and Mental Health Service Providers Eligible for HIT Funds
- ■ SAAS and LAC Leadership Meet with Federal Partners
- ■ SAAS and LAC Submit Comments on Parity, Funding and SSI/DI Eligibility
Since its passage in March, many people and organizations have been trying to better understand how the new healthcare provisions will affect them, and when those changes will be implemented.
Using the larger insurance provisions timeline from The Commonwealth Fund, LAC has developed a timeline for measures being implemented in 2010 that directly affect individuals and organizations dealing with SUD/MH issues.
Although ATI programs have been critical to reducing the prison population and crime and are essential to the success of Rockefeller drug law reform, they face potentially massive funding cuts because of the state’s fiscal struggles.
Now is the time to create enormous pressure on both houses to use federal funds to restore Alternatives to Incarceration and Re-entry related funding.
On March 24, 2010, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3590, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” The new law, approved by the U.S. Senate on December 24, 2009 and the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21, 2010, is expected to expand healthcare coverage to tens of millions of Americans that are currently uninsured, resulting in 95 percent of the legal population being covered.
The new federal healthcare law includes a number of provisions aimed at improving coverage for and access to substance use disorder and mental illness prevention, treatment, and recovery services, a result of strong bi-partisan support in Congress and by the Obama Administration in addition to a unified and coordinated effort by advocates for people in need of substance use disorder and mental illness prevention, treatment and recovery support services.
The following is an overview of key components of the final legislation, including critically important addiction and mental health provisions included in the new law. The below also highlights provisions in the reconciliation bill, which was signed into law on March 31st and that amends certain provisions of the new law unrelated to the addiction- and mental health-specific provisions listed.