On April 16th, 2020, The Equitas Project became a part of Mental Health Colorado to jointly work on mental health and criminal justice reform. The Equitas Project was an initiative founded by the David and Laura Merage Foundation in 2013 and has been leading a national effort to disentangle mental health and criminal justice, championing laws, policies, and practices that prioritize promoting access to mental health over punishment and confinement. Mental Health Colorado is the state’s leading advocate in promoting mental wellness, ending shame and discrimination, and ensuring equitable access to mental health and substance abuse. Equitas’s focuses on criminal justice and mental health fits perfectly with Mental Health Colorado’s mission to create healthier minds across the lifespan.
Both The Equitas Project and Mental Health Colorado have great track records of addressing the many issues involved. This move will strengthen advocacy for improving our system of justice and mental health. I look forward to working with Mental Health Colorado on this essential effort.
Beth McCann, Denver District Attorney
The David and Laura Merage Foundation has generously committed to providing continued support through 2022.
The intersection of mental health and criminal justice is one of the most egregious failures in the mental health landscape. This support from David and Laura Merage will enable us to lead the way in making essential course corrections to disentangle mental health and criminal justice in Colorado and across the nation.
Vincent Atchity, Author
The influential work of Equitas will continue with Mental Health Colorado’s support, including the coordination of prosecutors offices nationally to prevent the incarceration of people with unmet mental health needs and the Model Law Writing Work Group.