Jurist in Residence Letter
From Senior District Judge John J. Specia, Jr. (Ret.)
This resource letter of the Jurist in Residence (JIR) program is designed to facilitate communication among the JCMH, the judiciary, and mental health stakeholders. Please forward this letter to any judges, attorneys, mental health professionals, law enforcement, or other community and state leaders who might be interested. To ensure that you regularly receive this letter, please click on the subscribe button at the bottom of this page, if you have not already. 

Help Needed: Survey on Mental Health Commitments

The core values of the JCMH are Collaborate, Educate, and Lead, which allow us to frequently partner with other agencies and organizations on projects that serve our common goals. In that spirit, I ask those of who are judges and attorneys to consider assisting with this survey request from HHSC and TIEMH:


On behalf of the Office of the State Forensic Director at Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), the Texas Institute of Excellence in Mental Health (TIEMH) at the University of Texas at Austin is conducting a survey to understand judicial and attorney perspectives related to the use of extended mental health commitments (CCP Art. 46B.102) for individuals who remain incompetent after an initial commitment for competency restoration services under CCP Art. 46B.073.


The information you provide will help HHSC leadership develop cross-system strategies that are responsive to judicial and court perspectives and considerations. Your input is critical to identifying and developing effective strategies.


The survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete, and responses will be kept confidential.


Registration Now Open for 5th Annual Judicial Summit on Mental Health

The 5th Annual Judicial Summit on Mental Health will be held November 2-4, 2022, at the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas. Capacity for our in-person meeting is limited. Those who are not able to attend will have the option to livestream the event from their home or office. The Summit will include opportunities to connect with colleagues, establish new relationships, and engage in learning sessions designed to be inspiring yet practical.


Because every county counts, the JCMH is challenging every county to be represented by sending at least one participant to the 2022 Judicial Summit—virtually or live—with the Whole Body, Whole Mind, Whole Texas challenge.


This year’s Summit features a focus on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Programs and a Mental Health Court “Stump the Experts” Q&A session. Participants will receive tools to help navigate the complex mental health laws. For more information, or to register for the Summit, click here.

Year Two of Eliminate the Wait

Like other states across the country, Texas is experiencing a growing crisis in effectively serving the number of individuals waiting for inpatient competency restoration services in county jails. The fiscal costs and human toll of this problem are immense. In 2021, JCMH and HHSC issued a call to action to right-size competency restoration services for Texans by taking a holistic approach to address this challenge with the Eliminate the Wait toolkit, a comprehensive action plan in which each stakeholder can play a small part to decrease the inpatient competency restoration waitlist.


A session at the Summit will bring together a diverse group of panelists to discuss the first year of implementation of Eliminate the Wait and future plans for this initiative. For more information on how you can get involved, click here, and attend the Year Two of Eliminate the Wait session of the Summit.



John J. Specia, Jr. (Ret.)
Jurist in Residence
To receive the JIR Resource Letter and other special announcements, link below:
Judicial Commission on Mental Health | TexasJCMH.gov