Commissioners Support Program to Keep People with Mental Health Issues out of Jail


SAN ANGELO, TX -- Tom Green County Commissioners Tuesday approved a resolution supporting MHMR of the Concho Valley’s application for state funding to create a behavioral health court to keep people with mental health issues out of jail reducing the cost of incarceration and treating mental illness with medication and treatment instead of jail.

MHMR Executive Director Greg Rowe told commissioners the Texas legislature’s Senate Bill 292 provides partial funding for a behavioral health court to address ‘justice involved individuals’ with mental health issues by providing medical and psychological treatment.  

The Commissioner’s Court approved a resolution supporting MHMR’s application for the state funding under SB292.  The program requires a 50 percent in-kind match from the county. Rowe said, “The goal is to ensure public safety by minimizing recidivism by diverting individuals with mental disorders and substance abuse issues to treatment without incarceration.”  

Rowe told commissioners the deadline to apply for funding under SB292 is May 15.  He has created a budget of $556,000 and asked the court to commit to $280,000 in local in-kind matching funds, which can be time and resources already used to deal with those individuals in the jail.  

County Judge Steve Floyd said that,”so many of those people will be better off” staying out of jail and so would the jailers.  

Rowe will return to Commissioner’s Court next Tuesday requesting a letter of support with the in-kind match.  

On a related note, the court approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and La Esperanza Clinic for mental evaluation services for inmates in the jail.  

Commissioners also lifted the burn ban effective immediately following the two inches of rain that fell last week.  

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