Attorney General Zoeller To Host Summit On Addressing Mental Health and Addiction


INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller will host the sixth-annual Criminal & Civil Justice Summit this Friday, May 27, to focus on addressing mental health and addiction in the justice system.

The summit will bring together leaders in all branches of government and the mental health community to discuss solutions to growing concerns about how mental health issues and drug addiction are plaguing the state, and contributing to crime and recidivism.

“It is an unfortunate reality that in many communities, the biggest local mental health facility ends up being the county jail or the state prison,” Zoeller said. “Individuals with mental health conditions or addiction problems are a large portion of those violating the law and facing incarceration. This is among the biggest problems facing our state and system of justice today, and we need innovative solutions now.”

The summit will include panel discussions on alternative sentencing and treatment solutions for mentally ill or addicted offenders, and will feature panelists including Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush, former Attorney General of Maine Jim Tierney, state legislators, county sheriffs, the president of Mental Health America of Indiana, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, and others.

Below is an agenda for the summit, which will be hosted at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, 530 W. New York St.

  • 8:30 a.m. Welcome – Andrew Klein, Dean of the IU McKinney Law School

  • 8:45 a.m. Opening remarks – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller

  • 9:00 a.m. Emerging AG Roles and Public Health Issues: Examination of the Correlation – Jim Tierney, Director of the National State Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School and former Attorney General of Maine

  • 9:45 a.m. Panel Discussion: Overview of Sentencing Reform Legislation      
    Moderator: Steve Creason, Chief Counsel of the Appellate Division, Office of the Indiana Attorney General
    Panelists: Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush, Indiana Supreme Court; Greg Steuerwald, State Representative; Larry Landis, Executive Director of the Indiana Public Defenders Council; David Powell, Executive Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council

  • 10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion: Implementation of Legislation through Recovery Works
    Moderator: Steve McCaffrey, President of Mental Health of America, Indiana
    Panelists: Julia Lanham, Deputy Commissioner of Re-entry, Department of Corrections; Sara K. Cozad, Asst. Deputy Director of Adult Mental Health and Addiction Services FSSA – Division of Mental Health and Addiction; William “Chris” Cunningham, Director of Grant County Community Corrections; Linda Brady, Chief Probation Officer at Monroe County Government

  • 11:30 a.m. Protecting Civil Liberties through Treatment in the Prison System – Ken Falk, Legal Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana

  • 1:15 p.m. Breakout sessions
    Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative – Michelle Tennell, State Director of Indiana’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), Indiana Judicial Center, Indiana Supreme Court
    Civil Commitment – Sharon Blair, Advocate; Steve Davisson, State Representative
    View from Corrections: Alternative Sentencing in Practice – Amy Summerfield, Deputy Prosecutor of Hamilton County; Sheriff Nielsen, Boone County Sheriff

  • 2:15 p.m. Indiana’s participation in the National Institute of Corrections Evidence Based Decision Making Initiative – An Innovative Approach to Problem Solving
    Panelists: Justice Steven H. David, Indiana Supreme CourtJudge Mark E. Spitzer, Grant Circuit Court; Mary Kay Hudson, Director of Court Services, Indiana Judicial CenterSteve Creason, Chief Counsel of the Appellate Division, Office of the Indiana Attorney General

The Criminal and Civil Justice Summit is open to the media at no cost. To RSVP, contact Public Information Officer with the Attorney General’s Office, Molly Gillaspie, at or 317-232-0168. 


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