Mental Illness Protection and Advocacy Program

Disability Law Colorado has been designated as the Protection and Advocacy System for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) in the state of Colorado. We investigate incidents of abuse and neglect of people with mental illness in secure treatment facilities, hospitals, jails, and prisons. We also investigate cases involving children in residential treatment centers and youth corrections facilities.

We believe that individuals with mental illness should have the opportunity to live in the community, instead of an institution, such as a nursing home.

We also believe that too many people with mental illness – including children - are locked up in correctional facilities because of their mental illness, and because they have not received the mental health care they need to function in the community.

Evaluation and Treatment for Detainees

In 2011, Disability Law Colorado was part of a legal team that secured a settlement in a federal lawsuit guaranteeing pre-trial detainees who are mentally ill evaluation and treatment within 28 days of their arrest. (In some cases, people with severe mental illness were waiting up to six months, often without any treatment, and would commit crimes or violate conduct rules because of their inability to control their behavior). This landmark 10-year settlement is the first of its kind in the United States.

End Jail Delay

If you have a serious mental health condition while in jail, you may not be competent to stand trial. But because of a shortage services, you may also be stuck in jail waiting for the treatment that could help you become competent. Meanwhile, the effects of incarceration can exacerbate symptoms of a mental illness. Sometimes with deadly results.That’s jail delay. And it happens all the time. Rooted in Rights explains in a new video.(y) Like our page Rooted in Rights andSHARE!#EndSolitary #MentalIllness #disabilityrights #disabilityjustice

Posted by Rooted in Rights on Thursday, November 5, 2015

Solitary Confinement

In 2014, Disability Law Colorado joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado to investigate reports of abuse, neglect and rights violations of individuals with mental illness in the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) through long-term isolation in solitary confinement.

Our joint effort has resulted in a new policy at CDOC to keep prisoners with mental illness out of solitary confinement and increase their access to health care.