Policy UpdatesTexas Judicial Council Mental Health Committee

Texas Judicial Council Mental Health Committee

SUMMARY – In June 2016, with the help of former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Institute Board Member Harriet O’Neill, the Texas Judicial Council established the Mental Health Committee to examine the administration of civil and criminal justice for those suffering from or affected by mental illness.

$1.4B

annual emergency room costs (2016 report) to address mental illness and substance use disorders that are otherwise not adequately treated

$650M

local justice system costs (2016 report) for inadequately treated mental illness and substance use disorders

In June 2016, with the help of former Texas Supreme Court Justice and Institute Board Member Harriet O’Neill, the Texas Judicial Council established the Mental Health Committee to examine the administration of civil and criminal justice for those suffering from or affected by mental illness. The committee, chaired by the Honorable Bill Boyce, was charged with providing formal recommendations to the full Judicial Council and the legislature in advance of the 85th Legislative Session. The Institute contributes to committee meetings and provided research and technical assistance to committee members.

In June 2016, the Texas Judicial Council established the Mental Health Committee to:

  • Gather stakeholder input, and examine best practices in the administration of civil and criminal justice for those suffering from or affected by mental illness;
  • Identify and review systemic approaches for diversion of individuals with mental illness from entering the criminal justice system;
  • Make recommendations to the Judicial Council on (1) systemic approaches for improving the administration of justice in cases involving mental health issues; (2) strategies to foster meaningful multi-disciplinary collaboration, enhance judicial leadership, develop and implement technology solutions, and explore potential funding sources; and (3) whether a permanent judicial commission on mental health should be created; and
  • Recommend legislative changes that will improve the administration of justice for those suffering from or affected by mental illness and recommendations for diversion from the justice system, for consideration by the 85th Texas Legislature commencing in January 2017.