S1E12 / COVID and Punishment / Homer Venters, Norman Ornstein, and Steven Leifman
“There’s no social distancing in the prisons, almost no protective gear for anybody, and if you also have a serious mental illness… you can’t expect them to take any of the precautions that include keeping away from other people. And you can’t expect them to take care of themselves when they can’t do it for their larger illnesses. If we look at those who are most vulnerable to getting the virus, or spreading the virus, it’s more likely to be those who are most vulnerable in our populations generally.” -Norman Ornstein
In today’s episode, co-hosts Ron Klain and Dr. Celine Gounder speak with Judge Steve Leifman and Norm Ornstein. Judge Leifman, works in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in Miami- Dade County, Florida. He designed the Miami model to address the needs of people living with mental illness in their interactions with the criminal justice system. Norm Ornstein, a leading expert on American government, is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for The National Journal and The Atlantic. They discuss how COVID is affecting people with mental illness.
This episode also includes discussions on the challenges facing the criminal justice system during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts on individuals who are incarcerated during this time. Our co-hosts interview two individuals with knowledge of the New York City criminal justice system: Rosie Santiago, whose brother contracted COVID-19 while being held at Manhattan Detention Center, and Dr. Homer Venters, the former Chief Medical Officer of New York City’s Correctional Health Services."
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