October 29-30, 2015

Atlanta Metropolitan State College
Easley Pavilion Conference Center
1630 Metropolitan Parkway, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30310


The Symposium

Each year, there are an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses admitted to jails across the nation. Almost three-quarters of these adults also have drug and alcohol use problems. Once incarcerated, individuals with mental illnesses tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning to incarceration than those without these illnesses. The human toll of this problem—and its cost to taxpayers—is staggering. Jails spend two to three times more money on adults with mental illnesses that require intervention than on those without those needs, yet often do not see improvements to public safety or these individuals’ health. Although communities have made tremendous efforts to address this problem, they are often thwarted by significant obstacles, including operating with minimal resources and needing better coordination between criminal justice, mental health, substance use treatment, and other agencies. Without change, large numbers of people with mental illnesses will continue to cycle through the criminal justice system, often resulting in tragic outcomes for these individuals and their families, missed opportunities for connections to treatment, inefficient use of funding, and a failure to improve public safety. To address and reduce the criminalization of people with mental illness, it is helpful to use a social justice approach to public policy that focuses on preventing involvement in the criminal justice system, ensuring diversion opportunities are available and accessible and offering treatment/rehabilitation services that meet people’s diverse needs.



For more information about registration, click here.


Keynote Speaker

MAJMHS Keynote Speaker named recipient of William H. Rehnquist Award

August 12, 2015 – Steven Leifman, Associate Administrative Judge of the Miami-Dade County Court - Criminal Division in Florida, has been named the National Center for State Courts’ recipient of the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. Judge Leifman is being recognized for his groundbreaking work helping people with mental illnesses who are either in the criminal justice system or at-risk of incarceration. One of the nation’s highest judicial honors, the Rehnquist Award is presented annually to a state court judge who exemplifies judicial excellence, integrity, fairness, and professional ethics. Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. will present the award to Judge Leifman during a ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on November 19. This is the 20th anniversary of the Rehnquist Award, and Judge Leifman is the first Florida judge to receive the honor. Read the full article for more information.

We congratulate Judge Leifman and look forward to his speech at the Symposium in October!




Who should attend?

  • The Judicial Community: Superior, State, Magistrate, Municipal, Probate, and Juvenile
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Court Administrators
  • Court Program Directors
  • State Officials
  • City Officials
  • County Officials
  • The Legal Community
  • Department of Corrections
  • Behavioral Health Providers
  • Social Service Providers
  • School Resource Officers
  • School Guidance Counselors
  • Juvenile Justice Advocates
  • Behavioral Health Advocates