New York City Mayor Eric Adams is defending his new policy that allows city employees to involuntarily lock homeless people in medical facilities after enduring criticism from civil liberties and mental health professionals.
The policy, announced late last month, grants police, firefighters, outreach workers and other first responders the ability to admit people to psychiatric hospitals if they appear unable to care for themselves. same, according to WNYW, Fox’s New York affiliate.
“I was not elected to do an easy job,” Mr Adams said on Monday, according to London’s Daily Mail newspaper. “I was elected to look at these systemic issues that have existed in the city for generations.”
Critics of the plan say institutionalizing people is a temporary solution, as patients will eventually be discharged from hospital. They think the mayor should instead focus on building more supervised housing, which would help avoid expected legal battles over the policy.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has clearly stated that civil commitment is a massive restriction of liberty, and therefore currently under the law you can bring someone in for an assessment based on the fact that they are unable to meet basic survival needs,” Norman Siegel, former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told the Gothamist news site last month. “But currently you cannot keep someone against their will in a hospital based on their basic survival needs.”
Matt Kudish, executive director of the New York chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told WNYW that the plan “takes away basic human rights” and that the city is choosing not to provide treatment for these mental health issues. mental health in shelters or supportive housing. sites.
Mr. Adams pointed out that the people targeted by this new policy are a “specific small group” who pose a danger to themselves and others.
Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, supports Mr. Adams’ new policy and said hospital officials will remove the barriers necessary to make the plan work.
The new policy comes amid rising crime in general (up 27% year-on-year) and in public transport (up 34%).
Additionally, the Coalition for Homeless said more than 60,000 people slept in shelters in New York on any given night, up 50% from more than a decade ago.
Mr Adams said private hospitals were fine with the new policy, but cited the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to avoid delving into specific numbers on the number of patients admitted.