“Help Not Handcuffs” sessions

Below in an email from Pastor David Brazil inviting neighbors to attend a session (in-person OR virtual) about their program, “Help Not Handcuffs.” This is a proposal for a mental health crisis response team, and that is much needed. Please check out the website (opprcnola.org/help-not-handcuffs) , and sign up for a sessions. NOTE: You can attend ANY of the virtual ones, in your District or in another one.

Dear Friend,

I’m writing as a member of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) to tell you about the launch of our newest initiative ‘Help Not Handcuffs’. Since 2004, OPPRC has been working to reduce the jail’s population, improve conditions, and create a safer and more just New Orleans. As part of that mission, we are calling for the creation of a community-based crisis response team to respond to emergencies involving our neighbors facing mental health crises. It is critical that we protect our most vulnerable neighbors, as risk of death from police intervention is seven to sixteen times greater for people with mental illness than for those without, particularly those with untreated mental illness. By creating a trained response team, we’ll be able to reduce unnecessary police interactions and save our city $10 million, money that could be used to fund desperately needed housing, healthcare, and education programs. 

Starting Tuesday, May 25, OPPRC and our partners will host a series of 10 in-person and virtual ‘learn and share’ community sessions where we hope to engage with neighbors about what a non-police mental health crisis response team would mean for each locality. The sessions will take place every Tuesday (virtually), and Saturday (in-person) over five weeks and will include time for attendees to listen to their neighbors and learn about the proposed mental health crisis response team. 

We hope you’ll not only join us for one of the sessions, but encourage your neighbors to do so as well. You can learn more about OPPRC’s citywide effort to ensure those facing mental illness receive the care they need rather than being shuttled in and out of jail by visiting opprcnola.org/help-not-handcuffs

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions about the upcoming meetings. I look forward to continuing our conversation. 

Thank you, 

David Brazil

Pastor David Brazil (he/him), Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, Organizer

4035 Washington Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70125

o 504 264 2189 | c 504 439 2458 dbrazil@opprcnola.org www.opprcnola.org


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