Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The grassroots organization RIPPD- Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Visit the site RIPPD.


Over half of the incarcerated individuals in U.S. prisons have a history of mental illness. Police officers have limited training in both recognizing and dealing with the needs of mentally ill people. Consequently, their treatment of mentally ill people can cause further damage. RIPPD works to improve the criminal justice systems handling of people with mental disabilities. Its members include formerly imprisoned people with mental illness and their families.


Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD) is a grassroots, direct action organization, united to demand justice and social change, for imprisoned people with psychiatric disabilities.

Our membership is made up of people with psychiatric disabilities who have been in jail or prison and who have suffered in that system. Our membership also includes family members and friends of people with psychiatric disabilities who are and have been imprisoned.

We believe in humane treatment for all regardless of race, class or sexual identity. We want to end the discrimination and dehumanization in the criminal justice system.

We fight the stigma against people with mental illness by demonstrating our courage and empowerment. We are outraged and disgusted by the deplorable treatment by the people controlling the current system.

We confront all those who have the responsibility to make changes by strategizing, protesting, negotiating, collaborating with other groups and by any other creative means necessary.

We will not be ignored! Our voices will be heard!

RIPPD confronts a system set up to oppress people who have a mental illness and who have been in jail or prison. Despite the existing power structure, our organization has been able to gain respect from the powers that be and meet with judges, politicians, and other government officials and begin to achieve the policy changes that we seek. Through this work members develop leadership skills along with a greater understanding of the process involved in organizing for social change. Organizing is about more than the tasks at hand and the projected outcomes, it is also about the process that membership goes through as individuals unite and take action together. It is this process that empowers members and makes this work possible.

RIPPD is working towards the following:

Establishment of Alternatives to Incarceration

Establishment of Pre-Booking Jail Diversion in the NYPD, Community Crisis Intervention Teams

Abolition of Prison/Jail Expansion

Accountability and Training for Correction and Police Officers

Better Mental Health Treatment in Jails and Prison

A Change in the Public Hearing Process to Favor Community

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