The Belvin Perry, Jr.Central Receiving Center

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The Belvin Perry, Jr.Central Receiving Center

The Belvin Perry, Jr.Central Receiving Center

by:
jtracy
August 18, 2017

Belvin Perry, Jr. shares the history of The Belvin Perry, Jr. Central Receiving Center   in the excerpt from an oral history interview with Belvin Perry, Jr. at the Orlando Public Library on April 24, 2017.

LISTEN Part IV (13:25)

I was doing probate and guardianship and I had ordered these people to treatment and my assistant said, "Sally wants to see you." And that was the person over mental health in the clerk's office who also served as my trial clerk on those type cases.And Sally came in and said, "Judge, you know these people are not going to get any treatment?" And I said, "Whatcha mean they're not going to get any treatment? I just ordered treatment." And she said, "Ordering treatment and getting treatment are two different things." And then she went on to explain to me that there were no dollars for treatment. It was very limited. Then she looked at me and said, "What are you going to do about it?" And I said, "What do you mean what am I going to do about it?" "You're going to have to do more than sit up there and order something." [She said that?] Yes, I always encourage people to be frank with me. And so I said, "Let me think about it."

Bill Sublette

So we went to Bill Sublette, who was a representative, and he told us, "Oh no. It's too late to do anything about it." And then a week later he called me back and said, "Let's give it a shot." But he also told me that there's infighting among the providers and it had sunk an effort once before. So I got them all in a row and for whatever strange reason they all listened to me. And they all decided to get in the same boat and row in the same direction. And with the help of Bill Sublette, and Toni Jennings was the president of the Senate and Dan Webster was the Speaker of the House,we started getting funding. But the major reason we started getting funding was that we had everyone at the table and people were bashing and fighting each other.

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The Belvin Perry, Jr.Central Receiving Center opened in April 2003.

And then out of that grew this thing where you could get treatment for mental health. You could get treatment for drugs, but you couldn't get a dual diagnosis. Those people were caught in this no man's land. They either had to choose one treatment over the other. And after bashing our head against the table for a couple of years we were able to do it with help from Orange County Government starting with Richard Crotty and continuing through to Teresa Jacobs where we created the Central Receiving Center and it became a model nationwide. And it stopped that cycle of people going into the criminal justice system being arrested who didn't need to. Although there is still much more work to be done because the Orange County Jail is still the largest mental health facility around. But, you know, there's always going to be work to be done.

Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. first joined the 9th Circuit Court in 1989. He served as Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court from 1995 to 1999 and 2001 to 2014. He retired from the bench on August 13, 2014 after serving as judge for nearly 25 years including serving as Osceola County Administrative Judge and nine terms as Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

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