Panel Discussion Tackles Mental Health And The Courts

Dec 7, 2020

A documentary screening and panel discussion put a spotlight on the challenges of mental illness and the criminal justice system.

Hosted by the Illinois Supreme Court Mental Health Task Force, the panel featured three mothers whose children had severe mental illness.

Tanya Brown spoke about the difficulty getting treatment for her son, Tyree Davis, who had schizo-affective disorder.

“There were times that I would take him to the mental health facility, but they wouldn’t even keep him because he had to agree,” Brown said. “It was a battle to keep him on his medications.”

Davis was shot by Chicago police in January of 2020, after being caught shoplifting while holding a knife.

All the mothers spoke of difficulty accessing treatment for their children, getting them involuntarily committed if needed, and the lack of psychiatric beds.

Representatives from the state's high court say they're taking the information from the panel discussion under consideration, and may be able to apply it to new policies going forward.

The documentary screened, “The Definition of Insanity” is available on PBS.