Exploring a Revolutionary Approach to Solving the Mental Health Crisis

That could be a model for the nation

To request a screening or a link to view the PBS version (56 minutes, aired Spring/Summer 2020), contact us. Downloads are available upon request.


With a mental health crisis across the US, solutions are now sought as never before. From national publications to Twitter influencers, The Definition of Insanity struck an inspiring nerve. Could the Miami Model be a model for the nation?

The documentary reveals how Miami Dade County, Florida, has transformed itself from a hellhole of misery into a national model.

Pete Early

Mark Hamill

I LOVED this documentary which tells the story of low-level offenders with mental health issues being given the opportunity of therapy & medical treatment to avoid being thrown away & forgotten in prison. TONIGHT at 10/9c on @PBS #DefinitionOfInsanity https://bit.ly/2V5B65I

Al Gore

So proud of mornstein.org, a foundation set up by my friend  @NormOrnstein in honor of his late son, Matthew. Tune into PBS tonight at 10pm EST for Definition of Insanity about programs to rehabilitate non-violent offenders with mental illness.

This is how solutions journalism can tell moving stories without leaning on suffering.

The Whole Story

Chelsea Clinton

An important documentary about the Miami-Dade Criminal Mental Health Project. Hope you will tune in tonight: pbs.org/definitionofin #DefinitionofInsanityPBS

These best practices are coming at the most incredible time, because everybody is trying to figure out how to implement best practices in other parts of the system in the United States, including police reform...

Amanpour & CO. PBS

A must watch film — The Definition of Insanity — highlights Miami-Dade County's efforts to stop the cycle of needless incarceration... These are the types of programs we should elevate — programs that are addressing people's mental health and addiction in meaningful and helpful ways. Treating people like patients rather than prisoners is key."

Newt Gingrich, from "Trump and The American Future"

Judge Leifman’s remarkably successful Jail Diversion Program saves lives and big bucks.

The Al Franken podcast

Mental Illness Policy org

#DefinitionofInsanityPBS should be mandatory viewing for every public official who wants to help the seriously mentally ill . Congrats @NormOrnstein & Judge Leifman.

One judge’s innovative efforts in Miami to prevent people with mental illness from being treated like criminals.

The Washingtonian

It was Winston Churchill who said, “You can count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they had tried everything else.” Perhaps this is the time for this country to move beyond incarcerating people with serious mental illnesses, to do the right thing.


Nell Minow

Thank you, @robreiner for your warm and compassionate narration in the superb documentary #DefinitionOfInsanityPBS — the inspiring story of a pioneering program for treating the mentally ill instead of punishing them. @pbs

Short Videos & Interviews

Meet the characters and the creators of the film. Explore aspects of the story in greater depth, and learn more about the program.

Peer Support With Justin Volpe

When people with mental health conditions are released from jail without follow-up support, most of them end up back in the system. To break this cycle, reduce incarceration, and improve patient outcomes, Miami-Dade County has implemented the Jail Diversion Program (JDP).

Officer Ulmer in the field

Miami-Dade County has implemented a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program, in order to de-escalate confrontations with people with mental illness. CIT trained officers identify signs of mental problems, and divert people to treatment instead of jail.

Behind the Scenes with Judge Leifman

Judge Steven Leifman talks about the origin of Miami Dade’s Jail Diversion Program.

Behind the Scenes with Carlos J. Martinez

Miami Dade Public Defender Carlos J. Martinez discusses the importance of Jail Diversion Programs.


A production of Found Object, LLC,
in association with WETA Washington, D.C.

directed and produced by

Gabriel London

produced and written by

Charlie Sadoff

edited by

Nick Clark

narrated by

Rob Reiner

associate producer

Eddie Del Carmen

music by

Tony Morales

WETA Executive Producers

Dalton Delan & John F. Wilson

Contact us

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Copyright © 2020 / All rights reserved

Request a download

Get more information on the Criminal Mental Health Project

Contact Jessica Berenson, MD, the executive director
of the Matthew Ornstein Memorial Foundation