Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to criminal or juvenile procedures regarding persons who are or may be persons with a mental illness or intellectual disability.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 562 would require a county to provide a copy of any mental health records, mental health screening reports, or similar information regarding the mental health of the defendant when it transfers a prisoner to the Texas Department of Corrections. It would require the court, if the defendant is charged with certain violent offenses, to enter an order committing the defendant for competence restoration services to a facility designated by the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), rather than to the maximum security unit (MSU) of any facility designated by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), a federal mental hospital, or a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital.
Additionally, a defendant committed to a MSU is authorized to be assessed, at any time before the defendant is restored to competency, by the review board to determine whether the defendant is manifestly dangerous. If the review board determines the defendant is not manifestly dangerous, then HHSC would be required to transfer the defendant to a nonsecure facility designated by HHSC.
This bill is intended to address the shortage of MSU beds available statewide, and the inefficiencies of allowing a defendant with a mental illness to be left waiting in jail without adequate treatment for an average of 179 days until a MSU bed opens at Vernon State Hospital.
Lastly, SB 562 would provide an exception for individuals who have been acquitted by reason of insanity; limiting the authority in which HHSC would designate their arrangements.
Texas Action is neutral on SB 562 because it neither advances nor hinders any of our liberty principles.