I received the following information today:
Good news--On Monday, July 28 at the meeting of the Smith County Commissioners, there will be a presentation regarding possible Mental Health Court being established in Smith County. Mental Health courts, which provided intensive supervised release for mentally ill probationers, have been found to be very effective at reducing not only return to jail but also in reducing psychiatric hospital stays with resources for enhancing outpatient treatment. When approximately 20% of Smith County jail inmates have been treated for mental illness in the past, the potential impact of such an intervention program is substantial not only in terms of dollars saved but also in terms of quality of life for individuals, family members, and other citizens who could be affected by subsequent crimes.
Dr. David Self, chief forensic psychiatrist at Rusk State Hospital, and Ms. Valerie Holcomb, Texas Corrections Office on Medically and Mentally Ill specialist at Andrews Center, will make a presentation to the Commissioners sometime early in the meeting which begins at 9 a.m. (July 28) at the courthouse annex (NE corner from courthouse--where early voting occurs). Come and show your support, come and learn about the plans. This project has the potential for closing a revolving door into jail and/or hospital for many people whose care for mental illness is not consistent at times.