Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, of counsel in the Vorys Columbus office who served as an Ohio Supreme Court Justice for 16 years, was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch editorial on a proposed statewide police database of the criminally mentally ill. The proposed database is included in Senate Bill 7. The editorial states:
“It’s important to note that the bill would not create a database of people with mental illness. Most people who are mentally ill aren’t dangerous and don’t commit crimes. And the LEADS database restricts access to the confidential information it contains.
For these reasons, and as long as a final version of the bill does not amend these limitations, the bill has early support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, an advocate for enlightened and effective police and court response to those who are mentally ill.
Stratton points out that the proposed database could be particularly effective if used to dispatch officers who’ve taken crisis intervention training, which teaches officers to recognize mental illness and respond in ways that de-escalate situations, avoid injury and prevent ill people from being arrested.
But she cautioned that privacy safeguards are vital, so the database isn’t misused to discriminate, for instance, to deny employment or housing.”
To read the editorial, visit the Columbus Dispatch website. (Subscription may be required).