Individuals with mental health disorders often become involved in the justice system when they do not have access to treatment options and stabilizing supports in the community. Due to these and other complicating factors, traditional rehabilitative efforts often fail.
To enhance our response to the needs of justice-involved individuals who have mental illness, Williamson County has established the Felony Mental Health Docket (FMHD). Through an evidence-based approach founded on the problem-solving court model, we address the unique needs of persons with a health condition which may include co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD) and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), who are facing felony charges.
Through a combination of diversionary programming and court-ordered supervision and following the characteristics of a mental health court program as defined in Texas Government Code, our goal is to lower recidivism rates for program participants and increase community safety. This approach includes trauma-informed and culturally responsive mental health and substance use treatment to promote healing and transformation, enabling participants to live a meaningful life on the other side of a psychiatric diagnosis and legal charges. It also has a positive impact on the county budget by reducing the length of time participants are incarcerated in the county jail.