Shelby County Chief Public Defender Stephen Bush has been selected to appear on an expert panel hosted by the prestigious Vera Institute of Justice. The independent center for justice policy and practice reform is launching a national project to study the role of indigent defense in helping people with mental health disorders.
The effort will examine how resource constraints, ethical dilemmas, and practical challenges affect the ability of indigent defense attorneys to meet client needs.
Bush is regarded as a national expert on jail diversion strategies for those suffering with mental illness. He is the chief architect of the Jericho Project, one of the country’s most innovative approaches to addressing mental health needs in the criminal justice system.
Now more than a decade old, Jericho diverts people with serious mental illness and substance abuse issues from jail into the community with a comprehensive plan for mental health and substance abuse services.
The Vera Institute launched its new justice initiative in January. It is in partnership with Public Research Associates, an internationally recognized leader in behavioral health research .
The project is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Justice.
You can read more about this research initiative in this post.