The county jail system is the largest mental health system in the state of Texas. Counties face crushing costs in providing certain constitutional minimum levels of care, including mental health services.
The state should adequately fund community mental health, crisis and transitional services that divert the mentally ill from courts, emergency rooms and jails, and ease the financial burden on local government and taxpayers.
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- Mental health and the criminal justice system are closely interrelated. Substance abuse adds even more complexity to this system.
- The criminal justice system is among the largest cost drivers in the county budget.
- Counties must provide certain constitutional minimum levels of care, including mental health care, while a person is incarcerated in a county jail.
- Counties can provide funds directly to local mental health centers and other assistive community programs when budgets allow.
- According to the Texas Council of Community Centers, counties have increased support to local mental health agencies in recent years.
- Local taxing authorities contributed about $476 million to mental health community centers. Of this amount, approximately $371 million (78 percent) came from county government.
- Funding for local mental health crisis services and mental health rehabilitation must be fully appropriated. Gaps in service must be identified and addressed to relieve the burden on the criminal justice system.
- Community diversions and other programs are where the most timely, cost-effective, beneficial, preventative and successful mental health services are delivered — and the state must fund them.
KXAN, December 11, 2021
Mental health support resources have become increasingly necessary as many people have faced stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations report seeing many new faces walking through their doors.
Waco Tribune-Herald, December 11, 2021
Last week, Tolliver became the first graduate of the McLennan County Mental Health Treatment Court, a specialty court presided over by Judge David Hodges with the goal of diverting defendants away from the criminal justice system and into the mental health treatment services they need.
Dallas Morning News, January 8, 2021
To those who have criticized Dallas County DA John Creuzot’s courthouse strategies, you should look more carefully. Innovations within his office’s newly bulked-up mental health division speak to a leader who isn’t soft on crime — but intent on flexing new muscle in the fight.
KETK, Sept. 28, 2020
After receiving a $1.1 million in combined grant awards from East Texas Medical Center Foundation and Texas Health and Human Services, Tyler-based nonprofit Next Step Community Solutions will expand their mental health services for local students.
Galveston County The Daily News, Sept. 22, 2020
People with mental health disorders charged with misdemeanor offenses in Galveston County soon will get help from a new office meant to keep them out of jail.
San Antonio News-Express, Sept. 10, 2020
Bexar County emergency dispatchers soon might be sending a trained mental health professional and an EMT crew instead of sheriff’s deputies to 911 calls involving someone showing signs of a break with reality, after commissioners approved a $1.5 million proposal Thursday.