Partial Transcript: Gab, what's your job at Atlanta Legal Aid?
Segment Synopsis: Gab Rich describes her position at Atlanta Legal Aid as a licensed social worker and a paralegal in the Disability Integration Project. Rich states that she started working at Atlanta Legal Aid in 2014 after she graduated with her master's degree in social work. Rich explains that she became interested in law and disability studies, which led her to eventually work at the Southern Poverty Law Center. The interviewer, Susan Goico, talks about how the settlement agreement has affected the work she conducts at Atlanta Legal Aid. Goico talks about the Nick Project, which was started with the mission of assisting those with mental illnesses who were being held in jails. Goico explains that after visiting the DeKalb County Public Defender's Office for Legal Advice, she learned that people in DeKalb County with mental illnesses were being held without integration into the community.
Keywords: Atlanta Legal Aid; DeKalb County Public Defenders Office; Laurie Haynie; Sue Jamieson; developmental disabilities; mental health
Partial Transcript: So what were the early days of the Nick Project like?
Segment Synopsis: The interveiwer, Susan Goico, talks about the early days of the Nick Project (a project focused on providing adequate community care for those with disabilities who were often held in jails after being accused of a crime). Goico explains that the Nick Project functioned with the assistance of legal attorneys and social workers from the Dekalb Public Defenders Office. Goico explains that Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Teams along with other forms of state management were gathered by the leader of the Nick Project in order to address the issues concerning the jailing and holding of those with mental illnesses throughout Dekalb County.
Keywords: Annie Deets; Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team; Atlanta Legal Aid; Community Transition Planning; Connie Kyle; Dekalb Public Defenders Office; Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability (BHDD); Intensive case management (ICM); Tonya Brown
Partial Transcript: So Gab, when did you come again?
Segment Synopsis: Rich explains that she came to Southern Poverty Law in 2014, in the midst Atlanta Legal Aid's efforts to address and provide treatment for those who were imprisoned with mental illnesses, which was known as the Nick Project. Rich talks about how she began to organize legal data for clients in an effort to allow the legal operations to run smoother. Rich explains that she believes projects such as the Nick Project would not have started if not for the settlement agreement (an agreement between the Department of Justice and the State of Georgia which ensured better community care for those with mental illnesses ).
Keywords: Atlanta Legal Aid; Department of Justice; Developmental Disabilities; Fulton County; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Southern Poverty Law
Partial Transcript: And how do you think the Nick Project has impacted the lives of individuals?
Segment Synopsis: Rich talks about how the Nick Project started as part of the Disability Integration Project (DIP) at Atlanta Legal Aid, has improved the lives of those who were previously jailed and suffered from mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. Rich explains the challenges in providing the legal action for those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities, which includes the lack of housing available for those with intensive needs. Rich explains the issues with providing housing vouchers for those with mental illnesses, as the stigma associated with mental illness dissuades landlords in the general public from renting to that population of people. Rich describes the need for more structured living settings for those who suffer from mental disabilities.
Keywords: Developmental Disability; Fulton County; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD); Intensive Treatment Residences (ITR); Mental Illness; Southern Poverty Law
Partial Transcript: So, I know we've done some systemic issues through the Nick Project...
Segment Synopsis: Rich talks about her wish to spread additional projects such as the Nick Project throughout the state of Georgia. Rich explains the benefits of integrating those with mental disabilities into the community as a method of not only minimizing the cost of emergency services, but also as a way to prevent those with mental disabilities from repeatedly returning to jails due to complications from their mental illnesses. The interviewer talks the population of people with with mental disabilities who have been accused of a crime and are being held without trail in mental hospitals. Rich describes how the Nick Project at Atlanta Legal Aid provides attorneys for those with forensic status (guilty by reason of insanity or committed sex offenders) who are often held for years in state hospitals.
Keywords: Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Fulton County, Georgia; Gwinnett County, Georgia; Morehouse School of Medicine; Office of Vital Records; Sue Jamieson; forensic hospitals
Partial Transcript: And I think one thing that we've been able to do is...
Segment Synopsis: The interviewer, Susan Goico, shares how projects such as the Nick Project raise awareness for people with mental disabilities who are stuck in forensic hospitals and jails. Rich talks about the stigma associated with helping people with mental illnesses who have been convicted of a crime. Rich explains that many clients she serves were convicted in a period where they were not receiving adequate care for their mental disabilities. Rich explains her belief that all people deserve a chance at life and explains that her role as a social worker is to support vulnerable populations in society. Rich explains that many people who are held in forensic hospitals are not aware of their rights concerning their ability to challenge their conviction.
Keywords: Forensic State Hospitals; The Nick Project; crime
Partial Transcript: You want to talk a little bit about the CLE that we did to educate people?
Segment Synopsis: Rich talks about the CLE (Continuing Legal Education) programs that were conducted by Atlanta Legal Aid for stakeholders to learn about their rights and the rights of forensic patients concerning their commitment to forensic hospitals and jails. Rich explains that many people attended the programs including: criminal justice representatives, forensic peer specialists, public defenders and prosecutors, judges, and social workers. Rich talks about the need to raise community awareness about the condition of those who are held in forensic hospitals. Rich talks about the challenges of providing housing for those with mental illnesses who have been accused of a crime. Gioco and Rich discuss the need of educating the public in order to break down stigmas associated with helping those with mental illnesses.
Keywords: Continuing Legal Education (CLE); Criminal Justice; Forensic Hospitals; Forensic Patients; Forensic Peer Specialist; Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Southern Poverty Law