For more than 15 years, CASES has provided Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services to people with serious mental illness facing incarceration. In that time, CASES has worked with attorneys across the city to help their clients receive the comprehensive services they need. In their own words:
I had the pleasure of working on a felony case with the Nathaniel ACT (NACT) team for about two years. My client was a most-of-the-time homeless young man with mental illness who was facing a robbery charge. For the two-plus years the case was in court, the NACT team worked wonders. They supported my client through medical and psychiatric hospitalization and ensured he was compliant with his meds. The NACT team also helped him reunite with his family.
After two years of staying out of trouble, regularly appearing in court, and holding fast to his therapy regimen, my client had his felony case reduced to a misdemeanor. He is doing fine and still checks in with me from time to time to let me know how he’s doing.
–Russ Novack, Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society
RH was arrested in March 2014 for a violent felony. When I was assigned RH’s case, I soon learned he had an extensive psychiatric history. He would often act up in court and was still detained after 18 months, when I learned about the NACT program. With the advocacy of the NACT team, RH was finally evaluated for Mental Health Court. It needs to be stressed that without NACT’s help, RH would not have been accepted by the Court, since his indictment charge was assault in the second degree.
Not only did NACT closely monitor the biggest obstacle that RH faced—ensuring he followed his medication regimen—the Nurse Practitioner was instrumental in advocating for RH throughout the court process. Once in Mental Health Court, RH’s progress proved to be exemplary—he completed the program in record time with no negative progress report. Without NACT’s oversight and guidance, I do not believe RH would have been given the opportunity to avoid imprisonment.
–Glenn Abolafia, Attorney at Law, P.C.
CASES is grateful to the attorneys who have partnered in the provision of NACT as an alternative to incarceration for individuals with serious mental illness who can be safely diverted from jail and prison when supported by effective treatment services in the community.
To make a referral to NACT or for more information, please visit our Nathaniel ACT page.