Monday, July 28, 2008

Possible New Mental Health Court in Smith County

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports that Smith County commissioners have been asked to establish a “mental health court,” with the aim of providing better care for offenders with mental illness and reducing jail overcrowding ("Commissioners To Consider Creating ‘ Mental Health Court ’", July 27, 2008).

Here's an excerpt:

"It’s something like the county’s drug court, which diverts misdemeanor offenders with addiction problems.

A presentation will be made on Monday by Dr. David Self, chief forensic psychiatrist for the Rusk State Hospital, and Valerie Holcomb, with the Texas Corrections Office on Medically and Mentally Ill at the Andrews Center.

The Andrews Center estimates that about 20 percent of Smith County jail inmates have been treated for mental illness in the past. A mental health court would focus on intensively supervised probation for the mentally ill, who would receive outpatient treatment."
***
Numerous counties in Texas, including Bexar, El Paso, Tarrant, and Dallas, have established mental health courts, which addresses the needs of those with mental illness who come into contact with the criminal justice system. There are more than 150 mental health courts in operation throughout the United States.

2 comments:

Stir Crazy said...

It was approved. See here:
http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20080728/NEWS08/322721155

Kristin Houle said...

Thanks for the update!

-Kristin