Judge Steven Leifman is a national leader in solving the complex and costly problem of people with untreated mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system.
In 2000, he launched a pioneering initiative in Miami-Dade County called the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project, which steers people with mental illnesses who do not pose significant threats to public safety away from the criminal justice system and into community- based treatment. He also started a Crisis Intervention Team program in Miami-Dade which teaches law enforcement officials to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, how to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations, and where to take individuals in crisis rather than arresting them.
Judge Leifman has been a passionate leader and unwavering agent of change in the shift away from the devastating and unproductive incarceration of people with mental illness. He has shown us how to use our resources to reverse the costly prison recidivism that strips people of their dignity and threatens public safety. Judge Leifman is an extraordinary humanitarian, innovator, and transformative figure whose steadfast advocacy is changing the lives of people with mental illness and their families, and impacting our larger society.
For his extraordinary accomplishments, the depth of his compassion and the stunning power of his commitment to people suffering from the challenge of mental illness, we honor Judge Steven Leifman.
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