Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD)

Award Recipients - 2008

Heather Barr, Lisa Ortega, Leah Gitter, Ellen Logan & Jerome Marzan, Co-Founding Members

Rights for Imprisoned People with Psychiatric Disabilities (RIPPD) is a grassroots, direct action organization in New York City that engages policy and media makers and other citizens to win increased rights for prisoners and former prisoners with mental illness. RIPPD is led by members who are former prisoners, and family and friends of inmates with psychiatric disabilities; the majority are low-income people of color.

RIPPD evolved out of a class action lawsuit seeking improved New York City procedures for releasing people with mental illness from Rikers Island. RIPPD's advocacy agenda includes outlawing the practice of placing individuals with psychiatric disabilities in solitary confinement; increasing incarceration alternatives; increasing mental health training and accountability for corrections officers; improving quality of services in city jails; and improving discharge planning. RIPPD members engage in a range of tactics to have their voices heard including demonstrating at government offices, shaming officials, and doing guerrilla theater.

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