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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Harris County Creates Felony Mental Health Court

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Harris County is seeking to expand its treatment of the mentally ill accused of crimes by turning Judge Jan Krocker’s 184th District Court into a specialized mental health court:

Harris County’s criminal district judges voted Wednesday to devote Krocker’s court, the 184th, to felony cases of defendants diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression.

It makes so much sense for so many reasons it’s hard to figure out why it’s taken this long. The probation numbers are particularly compelling:

In 2006 and 2007, the county studied whether mentally ill people on probation who were assigned to the two courts avoided getting into trouble and returning to jail. Most of these people were in the New START program, and 4 percent had their probation revoked, Ellis said. During the same period, 30 percent of the mentally ill not in the program had their probation revoked.

It’s a step in the right direction at least. The subtext is of course that many of the folks who are landing in the new mental health court have been falling through the cracks for years.

Houston Chronicle: Judge hopes mental health court will cut repeat arrests (archived)

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Category: criminal law, houston and harris county, texas

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