The Bexar County Jail Diversion Program Model (BCJDPM) has been designed and developed through an expansive effort of community leaders and stakeholders to address the practice of utilizing the jail system for the inappropriate “warehousing” of individuals with substantial mental health issues and to minimize the use of the arrest/booking process of adult offenders with mental illness who, by their conduct, are subject to being charged with a minor non-violent criminal offense. The arrest and prolonged incarceration of such individuals adversely impacts the opportunity and ability to deliver meaningful mental health services to such individuals.
The BCJDPM is both adaptive and flexible to the changing needs of the community. The BCJDPM has identified distinct penetration points in the current “arrest-detention process” in the criminal justice system, and developed plans at these points to reduce or eliminate the incarceration of adult offenders with mental illness through:
Education and training of law enforcement personnel, the courts, the legal community and the public.
The development, collaboration and utilization of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) within the San Antonio Police Department to minimize to the greatest extent possible on-site arrests in response to incidents involving adult offenders with mental illness.
The development and establishment of one centralized location to which all responding law enforcement agencies in Bexar County may transport adult offenders with mental illness.
The development of a respite residential facility providing a structured treatment environment for adult offenders with mental illness.
The development of significant linking of services within the community to ensure the prompt and effective delivery of mental health treatment services and community base support services to minimize jail incarceration an/or court-ordered mental health services.
The development of a timely and effective screening process to identify those qualifying adult offenders with mental illness who have been arrested and charged with minor non-violent criminal conduct.
The development of an effective and prompt screening process and identification of those adult offenders incarcerated in the Bexar County Jail evidencing symptoms of mental illness which require a judicial determination of competency; consideration for and approval of release on a special mental health bond; or who may be eligible for assignment to a special mental health docket for early disposition of the pending charges.
The development of required community support and delivery of clinical services for the treatment of mental illness of adult offenders who have been released from the criminal justice system back into the community as a condition of community supervision or parole in order to enhance successful adherence to the terms and conditions of release, to stabilize the individual for a successful integration into the community, and to significantly reduce recidivism.
Information provided by the Center for Health Care Services, Bexar County