Saturday, July 28, 2012

Montgomery County Forensic Hospital Fined for Multiple Serious Violations

Texas health officials recommended levying more than $100,000 in fines against the state's first publicly funded, privately run psychiatric hospital in Conroe for violations including the improper restraining and inadequate monitoring of patients and other infractions committed in its first year. ... Details of the violations outlined in two letters state officials sent to GEO Group and Montgomery County are "reason for serious concern about the privatization of a state psychiatric facility," said Colleen Horton, a policy analyst at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas at Austin. MORE.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reinke v. State of Texas

Reinke had spent 20 years incompetent to stand trial for attempted murder cycling in and out of jail to a state hospital. Texas law states that a defendant cannot be held, whether in a state hospital or a jail, longer than the maximum term of the sentence for the charged offense. The Travis County DA's office argued that because of previous crimes that the defendant's charge must be enhanced, thus making the possible sentence longer. The Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed. Here is the opinion. Although this may not be a monumental ruling, it will be case law to say that enhancements don't count in the maximum time the state can hold a person incompetent to stand trial. Now that he will be released, what will happen to him? Will he get the supports he needs to maintain his community tenure?

Friday, July 6, 2012

County Jails and the Affordable Care Act

With what some are calling complicated and a split decision, the only sure thing is that legal pundits and the media will be sorting out the recent U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to uphold the Affordable Care Act for months to come. This far-reaching decision will affect all aspects of the Nation, including local correctional agencies — jails and detention facilities. The National Association of Counties (NACo) has produced a publication that examines how counties can be involved in enrolling individuals held in county jails who become newly eligible for health insurance coverage in 2014 through the Affordable Care Act. This document, titled County Jails and the Affordable Care Act: Enrolling Eligible Individuals in Health Coverage, examines ways that counties may be involved in eligibility determination and enrollment processes for these newly eligible individuals, focusing particularly on issues related to enrolling qualified individuals held in county jails as pre-adjudicated detainees and inmates preparing to re-enter the community. Specifically the document assesses some of the potential issues and challenges county jail and human services staff may face in terms of enrollment procedures. The brief also highlights examples of existing county-based enrollment strategies that may be able to serve as models for developing processes to enroll individuals in county jails who become newly eligible for health insurance coverage in 2014.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunset Commission: TDCJ Can Improve

Five years ago, the Texas prison system was nearing a breaking point in terms of capacity. When the Sunset Advisory Commission was tasked with determining the future of the state prison system in 2007, the commission did not recommend the construction of more prisons. Instead, the commission recommended the expansion of parole, probation and offender treatment programs. Click here to read the Sunset Advisory's report.

When I Die … They’ll Send Me Home: Youth Sentenced to Life without Parole in California, An Update (2012)

Read Report 07/05/2012 12:43 PM EDT This report examines the sentencing of youth in California to life without parole, more or less a death sentence. This text is divided into five parts: youth sentenced to die in California prisons—troubling facts, international norms, adolescent differences from adults, financial costs, and dramatically changing legal perspectives; recommendations; parallel cases, starkly different results; changed lives; and arbitrary outcomes—plea bargaining with a teen, teens perception of time, predicting who a teenager will be at age 40, other existing sentencing law, and changes in California law reducing checks and balances. SOURCE: Human Rights Watch (New York, NY). Authored by Calvin, Elizabeth; Weir, Annie; Nahoray, Dana; Breen, Austen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Engaging Women in Trauma-Informed Peer Support: A Guidebook (2012)

The fundamentals, cultural considerations, and actions to be taken to address trauma through peer support are explained. “This guide was created for a very specific purpose: to help make trauma-informed peer support available to women who are trauma survivors and who receive or have received mental health and/or substance abuse services. It is designed as a resource for peer supporters in these or other settings who want to learn how to integrate trauma-informed principles into their relationships with the women they support or into the peer support groups they are members of. The goal is to provide peer supporters—both male and female—with the understanding, tools, and resources needed to engage in culturally responsive, trauma-informed peer support relationships with women trauma survivors” (p. 1). Thirteen chapters are in this publication: introduction to trauma and trauma-informed practices; whether one is a trauma survivor or not; peer support fundamentals; gender policies and the criminalization of women; culture and trauma; religion, spirituality, and trauma; trauma-informed peer support across the lifespan; trauma and peer support relationships; self-awareness and self-care; organizational context—working in systems; trauma-informed storytelling and other healing practices; self-inflicted violence and peer support; and reclaiming power through social action. SOURCE: National Association of State Mental Heath Program Directors (NASMHPD) (Falls Church, VA); Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP) (Sudbury, MA). Authored by Blanch, Andrea; Filson, Beth; Penney, Darby; Cave, Cathy.

2012 Reentry Skills Building Handbook (2012)

Click here for link. While the local services are Georgia based, the bulk of this handbook is contains a wealth of excellent information and resources that will help an ex-offender make a successful transition back into the community. Forms and checklists for the released individual to fill out are spread throughout this guide and make the reentry process less intimidating. Not only giving the ex-offender direction, this handbook can be used by the community corrections practitioner in making sure the reentry process is effective for the ex-offender. Chapters following an introduction about getting organized cover identification, housing, employment, careers, work ethics, transportation, money management, education, applying for social security, health and life skills, mental health, alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and recovery, family and friend relationships, child support, and living under supervision. SOURCE: Georgia Dept. of Corrections (Forsyth, GE); Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles (Atlanta, GE).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

East Texas counties find methods to cut jail populations

Steps to ease crowding at the Gregg County Jail have resulted in the smallest jail population in years — largely the result of a pragmatic plan to shift punishment from incarceration to rehabilitation or treatment.

Nowhere Else To Go