Announcing the 2018 Pardes Humanitarian Prizewinner in Mental Health

Posted: September 5, 2018
Judge Steven Leifman, an associate administrative judge in Miami-Dade County

Established in 2014, the Pardes Humanitarian Prize is an International Prize, bestowed annually at the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's International Awards Dinner in New York City on Friday, October 26, 2018 (click here for tickets). It recognizes an individual or organization, whose extraordinary contribution has made a profound and lasting impact by improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness and by advancing the understanding of mental health. The prize was named in honor of Dr. Herbert Pardes, the first recipient of the award.

The 2018 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is being awarded to Judge Steven Leifman, an associate administrative judge in Miami-Dade County, who has been at the forefront of a public policy movement to reduce the number of people with mental illness in the criminal justice system.  Judge 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. 

The recipient of the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is chosen by a distinguished international Selection Committee from nominations solicited worldwide and receives an honorarium. The Prize focuses public attention on the burden of mental illness on individuals and on society, and the urgent need to expand and enhance mental health services both in the developed world and in developing countries.

Read our 2018 Pardes Prizewinner Press Release.