Category: Criminal Justice

Locked inThe costly criminalisation of the mentally ill

SINCE 1994 Tracey Aldridge has been arrested 100 times, jailed 27 times for more than 1,000 days and spent a total of eight years in prison. Most of her arrests have been for trivia: trespassing, prostitution, drugs, disorderly conduct, petty theft or drinking in public, all typical of the mentally ill. Ms Aldridge is so […]

Program for small-time offenders with mental health issues sees success

Judge Rainey Webb (Photo: WFAA) FORT WORTH — More than a quarter of individuals arrested for misdemeanors last year in Fort Worth had mental health issues, but a new program in Tarrant County is trying to change that. The program, called the Enhanced Mental Health Docket, identifies repeat misdemeanor offenders who are diagnosed with mental […]

Santa Clara County Looks to Texas with Jail Reform Plan

To deal with a growing population of mentally ill inmates, Santa Clara County plans to double the number of psychiatric beds in a proposed $208 million replacement of its Main Jail. But a local reform group has a more transformative idea: keeping people with serious mental illness out of jail in the first place. At Tuesday’s Board of […]

Sheriff works to increase resources for mental health patients in jail

An East Texas county official is working to increase resources for mental health patients who wind up in jail. Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said people with mental health issues make up a substantial part of the smith county jail. “We’ve got to do better at taking care of the mental patients because the last place […]

Editorial: We cannot afford to rely on the criminal justice system for mental health care

Recent reports from the Center for American Progress and the Public Citizen and the Treatment Advocacy Center confirm what many already understood: The U.S. relies too heavily on our criminal justice system to deal with the public health problem of mental illness, and our criminal justice system isn’t adequately prepared for this responsibility. Dallas is […]

Suit: About 280 mentally ill suspects languish in Texas jails |

Two men who were found mentally incompetent to stand trial have been held in Travis County Jail, rather than in a state mental hospital, for a length of time that violates their constitutional rights, a class action lawsuit filed Friday argues. The men are two of an estimated 280 people represented in a class action […]

Mental health court to begin hearing cases in Montgomery County

As a new mental health court gears up to start hearing cases next month, Montgomery County is poised to become the latest Texas locality to join a national trend of sending nonviolent offenders with serious mental illnesses to treatment rather than prison. Across the country, many participants in mental health courts have an addiction in […]