At our February Commission meeting, JCMH Commissioner Stan Standridge, Chief of the San Marcos Police Department, spoke of the confluence of four rivers: untreated mental health conditions, rising crime, overcrowded jails, and backlogged courts. There are no easy answers or quick fixes for these multifaceted and layered issues. We can, we will, and we must continue to work together to improve the judicial system for people with mental health needs and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
As I listened to our Commissioners share their local initiatives—which included a new drop-off center in Fort Worth, offers of advice on establishing specialty courts from San Antonio, the hiring of a mental health case manager at the public defender’s office in Wichita Falls, and the formation of new partnerships across the state—I was inspired by their passion and encouraged that we can meet this challenge.
Save the Date for the 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. Registration is free and will open in June.
2022 Summit Request for Proposals Now Open
The JCMH is accepting proposals to present at the 5th Annual Judicial Summit on Mental Health. As JCMH continues to address topics across the Sequential Intercept Model, some areas we would like to cover during this Summit include:
· Best practices regarding risk assessments
· HIPAA and data sharing among entities
· Ethical prosecution and defense of adults and juveniles with mental illness or IDD
· Building resilience throughout different life stages
· AOT Courts and programs
· Court-ordered medication
The Summit will continue focusing on ideas unique to the IDD community; examining effective practices for juveniles and dual-status youth; elevating the voices of those with lived experience; discussing ideas geared toward rural communities and programs with minimal funding; and sharing trauma-informed and evidence-based justice reform best practices. The deadline for submitting proposals is April 1, 2022. Speakers will need to attend in person. Please click here for more information and the full Proposal Application.
Announcing the Forms Bank
The JCMH website now offers a curated Forms Bank. Throughout 2020 and 2021, the Forms Committee met to review and compile a collection of mental health forms that courts and attorneys can use to streamline and promote efficiency in court processes. Although these forms do not constitute legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the statutes, rules, and cases pertinent to any specific legal proceeding, they should serve as an effective educational resource. It should also be noted that neither the Supreme Court of Texas nor the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals have approved these forms.
On behalf of the JCMH, I extend many thanks to the members of the Forms Committee for this important work: Hon. Dave Jahn, Chair; Hon. Brent Carr; Hon. Nelda Cacciotti; Hon. Clay Harrison; Hon. Guy Herman; Hon. Roxanne Nelson; Hon. Robin Ramsay; Melinda Brents; and Steve Wohleb. I’d also like to thank Meghan Kempf, Simone Salloum, Chris Lopez, and Dr. Felix Torres of HHSC for their expertise.
Texas Tech Mental Health Law Symposium
On April 8, 2022, Texas Tech University School of Law is hosting the 2022 Texas Tech Mental Health Law Symposium Webinar. The symposium will address practical legal and policy issues that can contribute to improvements in our public mental health system and help address the significant challenges faced by our criminal justice system and law enforcement with regard to alleged offenders with mental illness. Speakers include JCMH Commissioners Dr. Andy Keller, Beth Mitchell, Prof. Brian Shannon, and Chief Stan Standridge, as well as national experts Judge Steven Leifman, Judge Milton Mack, and Dr. Debra Pinals. More information can be found here.