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Smart Justice

Jails hold more individuals with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders than any other public institution. Adults with untreated mental health and substance use disorders are eight times more likely to be incarcerated, often due to lack of access to appropriate crisis services and ongoing care.

Of Texas inmates, 34% have a mental health need, and most have substance use disorders. The State of Texas spends hundreds of millions of dollars annually to provide mental health services to these individuals.
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Individuals with untreated mental health and substance use disorders are eight times more likely to be incarcerated.
Texas State of Mind will work toward the goal that Texans with an urgent mental health crisis will receive needed treatment in a health care setting instead of in the criminal justice system. Public safety and crisis response systems will work together to ensure that individuals with mental health needs get treatment rather than get arrested, and that any arrested that DO NOT POSE A PUBLIC SAFETY RISK are safely diverted. Adults who pose a risk of harm due only to mental health needs will be kept safe in treatment settings instead of jails. In turn, law enforcement agencies will be able to focus on community safety rather than serving as substitute settings for necessary mental health care. Adults with mental health needs who are incarcerated for legal reasons will receive needed care and reentry support to reduce the likelihood of another arrest. Texas State of Mind, with its partners, will identify and evaluate innovative, promising, and cost-effective policies and practices that safely divert adults with unmet mental health needs and substance use disorders from jail and prison settings into appropriate mental health treatment services. On top of that, the organization plans to partner with Texas organizations to build on successful community programs and learn how to scale them within existing resources. From these projects, Texas State of Mind will help develop data analysis and policy recommendations to support statewide expansion of best practice approaches.
Undiagnosed mental illness can lead sufferers down a dangerous path to criminal activity. Convenient access to mental health professionals can help those at risk avoid our jails. image of a man

Raymond’s Story

Raymond has always struggled with his emotions. As a child, he had a lot of energy. He had difficulty listening and paying attention. He always had a hard time in school. He eventually got this GED and even got married. But his anger would lead him down a path of separation and despair. Eventually he was arrested and found himself in a cycle of life on the street and in jail. More mental health practitioners are needed in our criminal justice system to identify mental health disorders early, provide appropriate counseling, and reduce recidivism. The Texas State of Mind initiative will educate policy makers and decision influencers about the importance of mental health care in our justice system.