Decriminalizing California’s Mental Health Crisis


More than 1 in 5 individuals fatally shot by police have a mental illness, according to a Washington Post database documenting police shootings over the last seven years. As our society reckons with the disproportionate impact of police violence on individuals with mental illness, calls for alternatives to police intervention have become increasingly urgent. In 2020, the Anti-Police Terror Project launched MH First, an innovative “communal care” model in which trained volunteers provide counseling, de-escalation, and medical services in cases ranging from mental health crises to adverse drug reactions to domestic violence episodes. Please join Anti-Police Terror Project (APTP) Policy Director, James Burch, for a discussion about the MH First initiative, its impact in Oakland and Sacramento, and APTP’s work to foster community safety through non-police intervention. (Anti-Police Terror Project is an Oakland-based, black-led, multiracial, and intergenerational coalition that seeks to eradicate police terror in communities of color. This event is also co-sponsored by the Abolitionist Collective at Berkeley Law.)

Please join the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law for a series of lunch talks with practitioners, researchers, and activists on critical and timely issues at the intersection law, racial justice, and the decriminalization of poverty!

This series is co-sponsored by the DA Accountability & Participatory Defense Project and the Contra Costa Re-entry Project.