Jail Possible For Mentally Ill Suspects

AUSTIN (AP) – Criminal suspects suffering from mental illness could stay in jail until they are competent to stand trial under a proposal in the Texas Legislature.

In a unanimous vote on Wednesday, the Texas House Committee on Corrections approved a jail-based pilot program for restoring a person’s ability to strand trial. The proposal has already cleared the Senate.

Lubbock Republican Sen. Robert Duncan’s program is based on a similar experiment in California. He said the program “allows these defendants to quickly receive treatment in a county jail from a team of highly qualified mental health professionals without waiting several weeks to be transported” to a hospital.

But advocates for the mentally ill oppose the proposals. They say jails lack the training, resources and will to provide proper care.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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