José A. Alvarado Jr.

Photographer
 
Location: New York City, New York
Nationality: Puerto Rican American
Biography: José A. Alvarado Jr. is a Puerto Rican photographer dedicated to documenting class inequality, civic engagement, and contemporary issues in Puerto Rico and New York City. He works primarily in long-form storytelling, using visual imagery... MORE
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for The New York Times: Audit Finds Fatal Lapses in Mental Health Program Meant to Curb Violence
josé a. alvarado jr.
Feb 9, 2024
Location: New York, New York
Summary
The program, known as Kendra’s Law, has sometimes been mired by shoddy oversight and bureaucratic delays, an audit by the state comptroller found.
Poor oversight and bureaucratic delays in New York State’s gold-standard program for treating mentally ill people at risk of becoming violent has led in recent years to preventable injuries and even deaths, according to a state audit made public on Thursday.

The audit, performed by the state comptroller, found that the program, known as Kendra’s Law, sometimes dragged its feet in linking people to psychiatric care. In one case, it took nearly a month for a mental health provider to connect with a person in the program, even though such a connection was supposed to occur within a week. The provider did not schedule a required follow-up meeting, and soon after the person was arrested on a homicide charge.

The State Office of Mental Health, the agency responsible for ensuring that people in the program receive treatment, did not learn about the delay until the local health department alerted the office to the killing, the audit showed.

Overall, the audit found that in many instances Kendra’s Law was working effectively to connect people with psychiatric care. Still, it noted that the program, which compels mentally ill people into court-ordered treatment, needed to be improved to reduce delays and communication breakdowns that have sometimes led to grave results.

“When there are lapses,” the comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, said, “the consequences can be fatal.”

Photographed for The New York Times, with words by Amy Julia Harris and Jan Ransom

Audit Finds Fatal Lapses in Mental Health Program Meant to Curb Violence
The program, known as Kendra’s Law, has sometimes been mired by shoddy oversight and bureaucratic delays, an audit by the state comptroller found.
Nytimes.com
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for The New York Times: Audit Finds Fatal Lapses in Mental Health Program Meant to Curb Violence by José A. Alvarado Jr.
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