Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Responses to Proposed Substance Abuse Treatment Services

Click HERE for the document.

Summary Responses to Stakeholder Comments
Request for Information (RFI) on Proposed Substance Abuse Treatment Services DRAFT Request for Proposal (RFP), please see the summary response to comments that were submitted in advance of the deadline.

Jail Incarceration, Homelessness, and Mental Health: A National Study

The relationship between homelessness and mental illness in jail inmates is examined. Inmates who had been homeless before incarceration made up 15.3% of the jail population, 7.5 to 11.3 times the rate of homelessness for the general public. Mental illness increased an inmate's probability of being homeless prior to incarceration.
Click HERE for the article.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ending an American Tragedy: A National Leadership Forum Webinar

The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare has organized a webinar to review recommendations for effective collaboration outlined in a recent report from the National Leadership Forum on Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Services. Forum leaders highlight current innovative and successful programs across the country. The presenters will discuss the Essential System of Care and how it can be used in planning community responses to justice involved persons. The National Leadership Forum is co-chaired by the National Council and the CMHS National GAINS Center. To register for the webinar:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Parnham, MH Task Force Recommend Harris County Reintegration Center

Steps being taken to help Harris County mental health inmates
by Alex Sanz

Posted on November 22, 2009 at 6:55 PM

HOUSTON -- The head of the Harris County Judicial Mental Health Task Force is expected to present sweeping recommendations on how to help mental health inmates at the Harris County Jail in a report to be presented to county commissioners in December.

Among the recommendations crafted by the prominent Houston attorney George Parnham is a reintegration center where inmates with mental health problems can be transitioned back into society.

Harris County, he said, needed to provide inmates with case managers to help them secure employment, housing and social services. The process would begin at the Harris County Jail and eventually move to a stand-alone facility.

"The Harris County Jail is the largest mental health facility probably in the state of Texas and ranks, I'm sure, in the top ten in the United States," he said. "It is, without question, a warehouse whereby we just stack beds and put people that are mentally ill in them. It's something that touches everybody. Either directly or indirectly. And people have to become aware of it."

There are as many as 10,000 inmates, on any given day, at the Harris County Jail. About 20 percent have a history of mental problems. Statistics show the vast majority of them will reoffend and end up back in jail.

"We're [finally] talking about it," said Parnham, who spent much of the past year working with the mental health task force at the request of Sheriff Adrian Garcia. "There are systems in place in the county jail that answer some of these issues but we're not going to let go of this."

Final cost estimates had not been finalized but Parnham said the proposed reintegration center would ease jail overcrowding and become a model for other law enforcement agencies in Texas.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hogg Foundation 2009 Legislative Update

The 2009 Legislative Update is the latest in a series of reports published by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to inform stakeholders about mental health-related laws considered by the Texas Legislature. The 53-page online report summarizes the most significant mental health-related bills introduced during the 81st legislative session, which ended June 1, 2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Veterans' Courts

From Marc Levin at the Texas Public Policy Foundation:

Veterans Are Frequently Incarcerated. The Bureau of Justice Statistics found in a 2000 survey—the most recent information available—that 12.5 percent of state prison inmates reported military service.1 Similarly, 11.7 percent of county jail inmates reported military service. All told, more than 200,000 veterans are behind bars. Of veterans in state prisons, 30 percent were first-time offenders, compared to 23 percent of non-veterans. Veterans were more likely to have a history of alcohol dependence than non-veterans. Of veteran inmates, 30.6 percent reported alcohol dependence compared with 23.6 percent of non-veterans. Additionally, 70 percent of veterans in state prisons were employed prior to being arrested, compared with 54 percent of non-veterans. Veterans behind bars were more likely to be mentally ill, with 19.3 percent reporting mental illness compared with 15.8 percent of nonveterans. More than three-quarters of veterans behind bars were honorably discharged.

Read the rest HERE.

Overview of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in Texas from SAMHSA

SAMHSA Reports
OAS States in Brief Report for Texas

The report below contains a brief overview of the substance abuse and mental health issues within the state of TX, including the prevalence of substance use and abuse, treatment resources, mental health indicators, and SAMHSA grant funding. To review this state’s information, click on the PDF link below.

OAS State Report for Texas

The report below contains a brief overview of adolescent behavioral health issues within the state of TX, with a focus on the differences between girls and boys ages 12 to 17. To review this state’s information, click on the PDF link below.

OAS Short State Report for Adolescents in Texas

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center is pleased to announce its seventh webinar in the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Series, sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance

Individuals with Mental Illnesses in the Criminal Justice System: Addressing Both Criminogenic Risks and Mental Health Needs
Community corrections and mental health professionals need to make the most effective use of limited resources when they respond to people with mental illnesses involved in the criminal justice system. They must ensure that supervision strategies and treatment interventions are both tailored to individuals' risks for future criminal activity and their clinical needs.

Dr. Jennifer Skeem will provide an overview of how criminogenic risk factors contribute to the involvement of people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system, discuss the need to develop approaches that take into account individuals' criminogenic risk factors and their functional impairments, and present an intervention model that does both. The webinar will conclude with a question-and-answer period.

Jennifer Skeem, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior
University of California-Irvine

November 18, 2009 at 2:00-3:00 PM, Eastern Time
For more information and to register, please click the link below:

*This webinar requires registration. Please use the participant's e-mail address to which the appropriate sign-in password and instructions will be sent. A confirmation e-mail from Webex will be sent upon successful registration with additional details.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ending An American Tragedy: Addressing the Needs of Justice-Involved People with Mental Illnesses and Co-Occurring Disorders

The National Leadership Forum on Behavioral Health/Criminal Justice Services (NLF) was established in 2008 to address common barriers to successful diversion and reentry – the lack of accessible, quality and appropriate services that help individuals remain and succeed in the community. Forum members represent leading experts in the fields of criminal justice, consumer advocacy, and mental health. These individuals are consumers, directors and CEOs of national consumer organizations, judges and public defenders, mental health practitioners, state mental health agency representatives, state department of corrections directors, and other national leaders in the field. Meetings are used to review the condition of the criminal justice and mental health systems, draft methods for improving key areas of these two systems, organize materials and documents created by the NLF for dissemination, and review the impact these documents have on fostering change in criminal justice/mental health policy and practice at the federal, state, and community levels.

The goal of the NLF is to go beyond previous efforts to address diversion and reentry for persons with mental illness that become justice involved. To do this, the NLF is developing an annual report that will identify several methods on how to improve current practices in these two systems and will make clear that:

* The increase number of persons with mental illness in the justice system is a public health and a public safety crisis that demands urgent attention;
* We know how to successfully address the needs of people with mental and substance use disorders who come in contact with the criminal justice system;
* The information that is already available needs to be put into practice; and
* The time for action is now!

The first report, Ending An American Tragedy: Addressing the Needs of Justice-Involved People with Mental Illnesses and Co-Occurring Disorders, provides 4 recommendations for immediate action. These recommendations include:

* The President should appoint a Special Advisor for Mental Health/Criminal Justice Collaboration;
* Federal Medicaid policies that limit or discourage access to more effective and cost-efficient health care services for individuals with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring substance use disorders should be reviewed and action taken to create more efficient programs;
* All States should create cross-system agencies, commissions, or positions charged with removing barriers and creating incentives for cross-agency activity at the State and local level; and
* Localities must develop and implement core services that comprise an Essential System of Care;

Each year the report will be updated to provide details on the state of the field and make further recommendations for action. The NLF will meet once a year to track the progress of the recommendations made from previous years and suggest areas for improvement. Click the following link to download a copy of Ending An American Tragedy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

TYC to stop Psych discharges

It's a shame that a teacher had to die for change to happen! Maybe we will start funding community mental health treatment now (as opposed to just throwing pills at the kids and hoping they catch them)!

TYC: Mentally ill offenders won't be discharged without proper services
by Emily Ramshaw | about 14 hours ago | 0 Comments

The Texas Youth Commission will stop releasing young offenders who are too mentally ill to rehabilitate until the agency is sure they’re receiving proper treatment in the community, officials said Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bizarre History of Truvia Family - Murder, Mental Illness and the Innocence Project

Truvia's uncle, Gregory Truvia, killed his mother (Byron's grandmother) and pleaded insanity though unsuccessfully. He received life in prison. Click here for a link to a new release on that.
Here's more info on that murder.

Earl Truvia, another uncle, was convicted of murder, but later the conviction was overturned and charges dismissed after the Innocence Project found evidence that another person did the crime. Here's info on that.

Truvia family seeks new lawyer says spokesman - UPDATED

Who is this guy (Guillory)? Why is he going after the attorney, when he should be griping about the judge's impropriety? Well I did a search and it appears that he is is from Compton, CA. He appears to be into self promotion and has little to do with advocacy. It looks like he is running for Congress in California, so what's he doing here? It looks like he just shows up where ever there's a story to get some "air time." If I were the Truvia family, I would be weary of this guy - he's probably going to exploit the situation for a book deal or other self promotion ops.

Here's his bio from his myspace page:
Bio of The Hon. Bishop L.J. Guillory He is a Published Author, "I Know Why The Caged Lion Roars" Million Dollar Political and Entertainment Consultant, Bishop over a National Unitarian Prison Ministry, and most of all, an autodidactic [self taught] non-compromising Ombudsman General. He holds a Doctorate Of Divinity in religious counsel from Bailey’s Temple and Christ Paradise Church, Educational Institution at Tyler, Texas. As a Special Events Consultant, Guillory has met numerous Hollywood Entertainment Executives as well as most Washington, D.C. Political Insiders. With his Hollywood contacts and his humanitarian ideals, he is destined to be everyone’s … “Hottest New Discovery”. www.Ombudsmaninc.Org The truth is Guillory is no stranger to Hollywood as a savvy Music Industry Insider or to the rest of the nation as an Advocate Against Human Injustices. In 2000, the Honorable Bishop L.J. Guillory, Ombudsman General , established the Ombudsman International, a 501 (c) (3) [Government Oversight Agency] Non-Profit for Public Benefit Organization. www.Ombudsmaninc.Org The Office of the Ombudsman General was founded based on the firsthand experience of the Honorable Bishop L.J. Guillory, who suffered at the hands of a corrupt police department, an unfair and unbalanced judicial system, as well as corrupt public officials. After becoming a free man and a Mason, the Ombudsman General began exposing corruption from the city hall to the capitol of the state of California, and to the halls of Congress, the Ombudsman General felt compelled to write the story of how the institution was founded and why the Caged Lion Roars.

He holds a Doctorate Of Divinity in religious counsel from Bailey’s Temple and Christ Paradise Church, Educational Institution at Tyler, Texas
WHAT THE HECK IS THAT? And I hold an autodidactic PhD in Tauris Faeces from Stir Crazy educational institute right down the road. Here's a picture of Bailey's Temple and Christ Paradise Church, 2715 N. Tenneha Ave., Tyler, Texas, a 501c3 institution.

Who's investigating this corruption? What a fraud! Looks like the Truvia Family has a fool for a spokesperson.

UPDATE: It appears that Guillory said that Dallas attorney, Gerald Smith, is interested in the job; however, Gerald Smith denied this and states that Jim Huggler is a very competent attorney. Furthermore, the criminologist that Guillory speaks of had never contacted Jim Huggler. Is Bishop Guillory lying? He probably needs to spend more time on his knees instead of on his soap box.

Truvia family seeks new lawyer says spokesman
Posted: Nov 03, 2009 6:19 PM CST Updated: Nov 03, 2009 6:42 PM CST

Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A spokesman for the Truvia family says the family is looking for other representation. Bishop L.J. Guillory says Dallas attorney, Gerald Smith, has expressed interest in representing Byron Anthony Truvia. Truvia is still in custody for allegedly stabbing a John Tyler High School teacher to death. Guillory claims 16-year-old Byron Truvia's court appointed attorney is incompetent. He says that makes it impossible for the young man to receive a fair trial.

"In Smith County, if you don't have good representation, more than likely, you're going to prison," said Guillory. "You can't win a case like this. The only thing that you can do is ask for justice to prevail which means that this young man gets the help that he so desperately needs and that the victims get the help that they need at this time."

Guillory says he's also contacted a criminologist and mental health professional to help in the case.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Truvia Ruled Fit to Proceed (without an evaluation): Where's Integrity in the Justice System?

Surely this will be contested/appealed, but I'm not certain what the process for this is in the juvenile system. It's a shame that Judge Getz would risk not having an evaluation for fitness to proceed. The whole nation is watching this and the prudent action would be to err on the side of caution. A report from Terrell State Hospital in May as evidence that he is fit to proceed? A six month old report about crisis stabilization is an inadequate substitute for a fitness to proceed evaluation. Rather, it is evidence FOR the evaluation. Are they so anxious to prosecute this child that they risk the case by not utilizing integrity and prudent protocol?

In a bizarre twist, Bishop LJ Guillory, founder of Ombudsman International, a non-profit government oversight agency (whatever that is) accuses Truvia's attorney, James Huggler, of being incompetent. He premises this by suggesting that Huggler has refused assistance from a criminologist from Wiley College. This just distracts from where the focus needs to be. According to Texas Law, only a psychiatrist or a psychologist with a specific forensic training can evaluate fitness to proceed. Mr. Huggler is smart to be weary of free expertise from a criminologist (is there a licensure for this in Texas?) Free expertise is often the costliest of all, when it comes to the future of this child's defense. There is nothing to suggest James Huggler is incompetent; Guillory's argument is just fallacious. Providing documentation from the state hospital and TYC are perfectly acceptable means of providing support for the motion to evaluate for fitness to proceed.

By the way, the state has petitioned to try him as an adult.


Judge: John Tyler Stabbing Suspect Fit To Stand Trial
Staff Writer

Smith County Judge Floyd Getz today ruled that the 16-year-old youth who is accused of fatally stabbing John Tyler High School teacher Todd Henry in September is competent to stand trial.

Henry, a special education teacher, was stabbed in the neck and chest inside of his classroom on Sept. 23, allegedly by the youth who is in custody at the Smith County Juvenile Attention Center.

Defense Attorney Jim Huggler said he filed the motion to determine competency on the day the youth was arrested in the stabbing, after spending six hours speaking with him.

“I have spent about 30 hours with him since then,” Huggler told the judge, "and most of his answers are monosyllabic, and he doesn’t understand or remember our conversations.”

In a recent meeting with the youth, Huggler said he commented on the color of the orange jumpsuit the youth was wearing, telling him it was a nice orange color.

“About 15 minutes later, I told him I thought he was wearing a nice red shirt, and he agreed with me that it was red.”

Huggler said his client does not comprehend information, adding that he does not know why Judge Getz waited until Monday to issue the competency ruling. He said that his client had been in the custody of the Texas Youth Commission, which diagnosed the youth with schizophrenia in 2007 or 2008 for other issues which he did not name. The TYC sought and got a civil commitment for the youth to Terrell State Hospital in May. Huggler said the youth returned from the hospital and was back with the TYC in June.

Huggler said he had requested documents from the TYC for the hearing repeatedly, but had never received them.

Smith County Assistant District Attorney Taylor Heaton read from documents provided by Terrell State Hospital from May, which stated that the youth’s mental status was “alert and oriented, and his thought process seems goal-directed.”

Judge Getz, who took some time before the hearing to read the documents from the hospital, said that the records showed some manipulative behavior on the part of the youth.

“What you’re telling me is not consistent with what I am reading,” said Getz.