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Biennial Report of the Texas Council on Offenders With Mental Impairments

NCJ Number
Date Published
41 pages
This Biennial Report describes the efforts of the Texas Council on Offenders with Mental Impairments (TCOMI) to revise regulatory, procedural, or statutory practices that have impeded the development of an integrated service delivery system for offenders with special needs.
During the past biennium, the TCOMI has continued to make progress toward the development of a seamless continuity-of-care system for offenders with special needs. The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (TDMHMR) adopted guidelines for all performance contracts that require local MHMR centers to implement the Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with local and State criminal justice agencies. The State legislature has broadened the statutory provisions to allow for the exchange of information on offenders for whom charges are pending, as well as the type of confidential information that can be shared without a signed consent. The TCOMI has provided prerelease and postrelease planning and aftercare treatment follow-up for over 4,153 offenders with special needs, and local MHMRs have revised their MOUs to reflect new reporting and monitoring requirements to ensure implementation compliance. Further, the TCOMI modified its continuity-of-care system to expand coverage to all units and inmates confined within State correctional facilities. In addition, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC), TCOMI, and the Social Security Administration entered into an interagency agreement that allows prerelease applications for Federal entitlements to be submitted prior to the inmate's release from incarceration. The TDCJ and TDMHMR conducted the first electronic cross-reference of client/offender data to identify matches in both systems, and the TDCJ designated two prisons as transitional units for inmates being discharged from inpatient prisons. The TCOMI, as part of the MOU process, provided training to all local MHMR staff who serve as designated criminal justice contact persons. Although the overall progress has been notable, as indicated by the aforementioned achievements, fragmentation continues to exist, particularly at the local level, in continuity-of-care services. This report offers recommendations that will be pursued during the 2000-2001 biennium to respond to service delivery gaps.