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Navigating The Criminal Justice and Mental Health Systems: A Discussion and...

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Town & Village Synagogue

334 East 14th Street

New York, NY 10003

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Moderated by Elizabeth Kelley, an attorney who specializes in defending people with mental health conditions, this panel will combine personal and professional perspectives. You'll learn about alternatives to incarceration, the difficulties of getting mental health care in the criminal justice system, the criminalization of mental illness and trauma of incarceration, and what it's like for individuals and family members who have lived through it. You will get concrete information about navigating the criminal justice system.

Speaker Bios

Elizabeth Kelley (moderator) is a criminal defense lawyer with a nationwide practice specializing in representing people with mental disabilities. She is the Editor of Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Practical Guide for Criminal Defense Lawyers (ABA, 2018) and the upcoming book Representing People with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Practical Guide for Criminal Defense Lawyers. She co-chairs The Arc's National Center for Criminal Justice and Disability and serves on the Editorial Board of the ABA's Criminal Justice Magazine and Criminal Justice Section Council.

Joseph Williams (panelist) is working on a public health fellowship exploring incarceration as trauma and its effects on mental health. He graduated from Columbia after being incarcerated himself and he currently works as a Mobile Crisis Team social worker and participates in "My Brother's Keeper," developing social-emotional skills with young men of color.

Tina Luongo (panelist) is the Attorney-in-Charge of the Criminal Defense Practice of The Legal Aid Society. As the Chief Defender of the nation’s largest and oldest public defender office, Tina is responsible for leading a passionate and dedicated staff of over 1100 responsible for representing more than 200,000 people in their trial, post-conviction and parole matters. In addition, Tina oversees two law reforms units that mount class action litigation and legislative advocacy for jail, prison and criminal legal system reforms. Her deep commitment to community engagement led to the expansion of the organization’s Community Justice Unit. Under her leadership, The Legal Aid Society opened the first-ever defense focused Digital Forensic Unit, launched both the Cop Accountability and Decarceration Projects and increased the capacity of every trial office to provide the highest quality representation to clients. She is dedicated to increasing the diversity of the public defense workforce and is integrally involved in The Legal Aid Society’s efforts to achieve pay parity with City and State government legal staff. She has been an active and public voice in the movement to ensure impacted communities drive the dialogue and discourse on criminal justice and does not shy away from calling out the racial inequities that are oppressing communities in NYC and across the nation. In addition to her work at LAS, Tina is active in many bar associations and professional organizations that promote our profession. She is a Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, President of the Chief Defender Association of New York, a member of the NLADA Defender Council and a Steering Committee member of the National Association for Public Defense.

Hon. Marcia P. Hirsch (panelist) is the Presiding Judge of the Queens Drug Treatment Court, the DWI Treatment Court, the Mental Health Court, the Veterans Court and the Drug Diversion Court. She was appointed to the New York Court of Claims in March, 2005 and was assigned to Queens Supreme Court, Criminal Term. She presided over hearings and trials before she was assigned to the therapeutic courts in October, 2005. Judge Hirsch has lectured extensively on therapeutic justice, trauma-informed courts, and procedural justice. She is a past president of the New York Association of Treatment Court Professionals. She joined the faculty of the National Judicial College in 2015.

Judge Hirsch is a graduate of Union College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. She served for nine years on the Rockville Centre School Board and also was a member of her community’s Drug & Alcohol Task Force. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Hirsch was the General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner at the New York State Division of Housing & Community Renewal. Before that, she was in private practice for many years.

Erica Weissman, J.D., Psy.D., is Director of Student Mental Health Services and Associate Professor at Touro College, New York, and maintains a private practice in forensic psychology. At Touro College, she has taught graduate courses in research methods and in the theory and practice of individual and group psychotherapy. As a longtime Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Forensic Psychology master’s program at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, she taught graduate courses in forensic psychology and family violence. She has served as the Unit Chief of the Forensic Psychiatry Service at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York; Clinical Director of the Forensic Psychiatry Service at Bellevue Hospital in New York, New York; and Director of Quality Improvement for Bellevue Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry. As a forensic examiner, she has conducted numerous evaluations for cases in state and federal courts, focusing on competency to stand trial, mental state defenses, and sentencing issues, including risk assessments. Before becoming a clinical psychologist, she was a practicing attorney. She may be reached at Erica.Weissman2@touro.edu.


Check back soon as we continue to update with panelist bios!



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Town & Village Synagogue

334 East 14th Street

New York, NY 10003

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