Working Toward a Stricter Kendra's Law

January 7, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Jaclyn Asztalos

January 7, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 9:13 AM EDT


Albany, N.Y. (WKBW) - There is a new push to make the Kendra's Law stricter after the devastating shootings in Newtown Connecticut. State lawmakers said the focus should not just be on gun control but also mental health issues.

Lawmakers said too many people, like the gunman in Newtown who is suspected of suffering from a mental illness, are falling through the cracks. They want to make Kendra's Law tougher. That law is named after Kendra Webdale, a woman from Fredonia who was pushed to her death on a New York City subway line by a man diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

Currently, Kendra's Law gives judges the ability to order potentially violent, mentally ill people to take medications or undergo psychiatric treatment. State Senator Catherine Young, from Chautauqua County, wants to increase the monitoring of these people to avoid tragedies.

Young is not the only one. Mary Kirkland of the National Alliance of Mental Illness agrees something has to be done.

"We hoped by this time there would be an improvement in the services, unfortunately that's not the case. In fact, it's worse than it ever was. I would like to hope and pray that they would realize that more needs to be done," Kirkland said.

This proposal is expected to be addressed when state lawmakers reconvene. Senator Young hopes it will be coupled with a tougher gun bill. The gun bill is supposed to be passed within weeks in New York State.

A recent poll done by the New York State School Boards Association showed 38 percent of educations don't think students have enough access to mental rehabilitation and argue more needs to be done.