85(R) - 2017
Health & Human Services
Relating to individuals who are or may be persons with a mental illness or an intellectual disability and who are or have been involved with the court system.
From the LBB: Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related
Funds for HB 12, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of
($54,097,026) through the biennium ending August 31, 2019. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the
legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the
This bill would require a sheriff or municipal jailer that has custody of a defendant for an offense that is a class B misdemeanor or higher to notify the magistrate if they receive credible information establishing that the defendant to have a mental illness or intellectual disability, not later than 4 hours after taking custody of them.
The magistrate would then be required to notify a local mental health authority and have them assess whether the defendant has a mental illness or intellectual disability and provide the magistrate with a written assessment. If the defendant does not consent to an assessment the magistrate would be allowed to order one in the jail or other place determined by a local mental health authority. Then the magistrate would be required to submit to the Office of Court administration of the Texas Judicial system the number of written assessments under the section on a monthly basis.
This bill would also require that a trial of criminal action involving a defendant who has determined to be restored to competency be given preference over other criminal and civil cases.
The bill would require HHSC to adopt rules to implement a jail-based competency restoration program and contract with providers who provide such services. Defendants charged with a class B misdemeanor and determined to have a mental illness and incompetent to stand trial would be sent to a restoration of competency program in order to restore their competency to stand trial. Defendants who committed a class A misdemeanor or higher could be sent to a mental health facility or released on bail to participate in an outpatient competency restoration program.
The head of a facility or competency restoration program would be required to notify the court when they believe that the defendant has attained psychiatric stabilization and either does or does not have the competency to stand trial. A defendant in a facility would be required to be discharged to the sheriff and transferred to a jail-based competency restoration program or outpatient competency restoration education program as appropriate. The sheriff with custody of the defendant would be required to make sure the defendant is provided with the proper dosage and type of medication prescribed to them.
The bill would also create a grant program to reduce recidivism of mentally ill people by giving grants to county-based community collaboratives after receiving and approving their plans to reduce recidivism. The collaboratives would be required to submit a report on the success of their plan.
Vote Recommendation Notes
This bill is a step in the right direction for policy making in Texas. Diversion programs consistently bear results in reducing recidivism. Less incarceration down the road because of the provisions of the bill is something the fiscal note fails to take into account. Given the steep price tag of the new program in a year where our Texas budget is so incredibly tight we are neutral on this bill.