Texas Diversion Programs Can Help Offenders With Mental Health Issues | Karnes County Criminal Defense Attorney

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Texas Diversion Programs Can Help Offenders With Mental Health Issues

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wilson County criminal defense attorney diversion programs

In the past, anyone found guilty of a criminal offense was immediately sent to prison to pay for their crimes. Little regard was given to the role that addiction and mental health issues played in the committing of these offenses. As times have changed and more research has been done regarding mental health, it has been found that those who struggle with mental health issues may have external, or internal, influences that keep them from making good decisions. Luckily, the integral role of mental health has been recognized by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and various programs have been created to keep those with mental health struggles from spending time behind bars.

What Is a Diversion Program?

There are three goals that stem from diversion programs: Presenting sentencing alternatives at the time of conviction, presenting sanctioning alternatives to revocation, and reducing the likelihood of recidivism, or returning to prison. Diversion programs vary depending on the offense and the unique circumstances of the offender, but options are available whether the offense is a minor misdemeanor or a serious felony. For example, those with a minor drug charge and no other criminal offenses may be required to complete a drug education program or participate in rehabilitation for a certain period of time. This becomes their “sentence” rather than spending time in prison or paying exorbitant fees. The purpose of diversion programs is to focus on education and rehabilitation rather than locking certain offenders away. This is meant to prepare individuals for life moving forward and keep them from committing crimes in the future.

Mental Health Services

The details of diversion programs can vary from county to county, but mental health programs are available throughout the state of Texas. For those deemed a threat to themselves or others, they may receive court-ordered outpatient mental health services as their sentence from a non-criminal court. These services would not typically last more than 90 days. For defendants who are facing criminal charges and possible jail time, they may be assigned to a mental health jail diversion program. Those with a specific mental health diagnosis would receive assistance from doctors, nurses, and counselors. The intent is to reduce the effects of their mental or physical health systems while staying with a community of people experiencing similar circumstances. Individuals who are found to be incompetent to stand trial for their case, they may be offered mental health services instead of being assigned to a state hospital or a jail-based competency restoration treatment program.

Call an Atascosa County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Unfortunately, a high number of those people who are found guilty of criminal charges suffer from mental health issues, yet without proper legal representation, they may be unaware of the various outlets available to them. To those who have fallen victim to mental illness and found themselves making poor choices that are against the law, an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical for securing a positive outcome. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys assist those facing criminal charges of any kind and make them aware of the various diversion programs or alternative sentencing available to them. If you are facing criminal charges and think that your mental health may have been a contributor, contact our dedicated Pleasanton criminal defense attorneys. Call us today at 830-769-1010 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/documents/cjad/CJAD_Diversion_Programs.pdf

https://hhs.texas.gov/services/mental-health-substance-use/mental-health-crisis-services/jail-diversion-services

 

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