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.