The Harris County Jail served as the largest mental health facility in the southwestern US for too long. DA Ogg won bipartisan support from county leaders and law enforcement to open the Ed Emmett Mental Health Diversion Center in September 2018. Already 2,200 mentally ill offenders have been taken to the facility at the direction of prosecutors. Instead of jail, these low-level, non-violent individuals with a history of mental health problems are provided stabilization, caseworkers, and comprehensive services, reducing recidivism by nearly 50%.
It is difficult to measure the human impact that comes from diverting people out of the criminal justice system and into appropriate mental health care, but individuals benefitting from the HCDAO Mental Health Diversion Program say it best.
Meet Shelly Pugsley. She got arrested for Trespassing, but instead of taking her to jail, a Houston police officer dropped her off at the Harris County Mental Health Diversion Center. Thanks to the Harris County DA Mental Health Diversion Program, Shelly's experience with the justice system was restorative.
Harris County Mental Health Jail Diversion Program, Stephen's story
More offenders with mental health illnesses to be kept out of jail, D.A. Kim Ogg says
Mental Health Diversion Center