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The original item was published from 3/21/2013 10:06:00 AM to 3/21/2013 10:18:27 AM.

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Posted on: March 21, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Jusice and Mental Health Collaboration Program

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Representatives from various entities representing the criminal justice system and mental health arena presented before Commissioners' Court a proposal for a program which would spur collaboration and streamline processes by developing a strategic plan to initiate systemic change for the identification and treatment provided to individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. 92nd State District Judge Ricardo Rodriguez shared how he (and colleagues) have noticed an increase in the number of defendants in his court who have a history of mental illness. Rodriguez lamented that there had to be a better way to serve justice and appropriately treat these individuals instead of sentencing to prison. In an effort to address this issue, the Adult Probation Department, the courts, Tropical Texas MHMR, and the County Judge's Office are spearheading a proposal for funding from the U. S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, which would support the development of a comprehensive strategic plan and strategy for improving services to individuals with mental illness who come into contact with the justice system. A Mental Health Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from local government, law enforcement, the criminal justice system, mental health agencies, and other relevant stakeholders would be appointed to oversee the development of the collaborative initiative. Commissioners' Court approved the request to apply for funding, and members noted that they were in support the initiative.

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