The Hays County Mental Health Court (MHC) is a 12-month, three-phased specialized treatment court designed to address the unique needs of individuals with mental health, substance use, and intellectual/developmental disability disorders who are also facing pending legal charges.
MHC provides a structured link between treatment, rehabilitation, social support services, and the criminal justice system to promote self-sufficiency, accountability, holistic wellness, empowerment, and successful recovery.
The mission of the Mental Health Court is to promote early identification of defendants with mental health, substance use, intellectual, and developmental challenges and provide access to treatment in order to reduce involvement in the criminal justice system. The Mental Health Court combines treatment and judicial monitoring to achieve long-term stability and self-sufficiency by providing a continuum of care that holds defendants accountable and assists them in becoming law-abiding citizens, and successful members of the community.
The purpose of the Mental Health Court is to provide participants with an alternative to incarceration. The MHC provides a structured link between treatment, rehabilitation, social support services, and the criminal justice system in order to enhance the participant’s quality of life, protect public safety and more effectively utilize public resources.
- Early identification of individuals at incarceration and at all intercept points of the criminal justice system.
- Identification and coordination of access to treatment, transportation, housing and support services for inmates facing mental health, substance use, and IDD disorders
- Ensure that clinically appropriate services are provided to individuals with mental health challenges and that effective program evaluation and outcome measurements are used to gauge the effectiveness of the program.
- Collaborate and establish partnerships with other community agencies that will expand the availability of services and resources.
- Increase treatment compliance of the Mental Health Court participants through judicial monitoring, intensive case management and supervision.
Defendants may be eligible for the MHC if they have an active misdemeanor case and are diagnosed with a mental health, substance use, or IDD disorder. If there is a felony case pending, this is something that would need to be discussed and negotiated between prosecution and legal counsel and agreed upon.
Eligibility criteria is:
- Resident of Hays County (case by case basis if out of county)
- 17 years of age or older
- Diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Substance use disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities are also diagnoses that are considered for Mental Health Court.
- Misdemeanor offense(s)
- Link between the mental health/substance use/IDD disorder and the current offense
- Assaultive offenses will be considered on a case-by-case basis
- No past or current charge of a sex offense
- No substantial history of violent offenses
- Pre or Post-Adjudication
Mental Health Court accepts referrals from all sources: judges, defense attorneys, probation officers, the jail, treatment providers or family members.
- Submit referral through this link: https://mentalhealthcourt.wufoo.com/forms/zahbrm607xmd34.
- Upon receiving the referral MHC staff will reach out prosecution and legal counsel to inform them referral has been received.
- Attorney reviews the expectations and stipulations of the program with the client to ensure comprehension and that they are agreeable to the program. Attorney completes Permission to Screen form linked here: https://mentalhealthcourt.wufoo.com/forms/rv5jd7012p234a/
- MHC staff contacts the referral to conduct a screening in person.
- Prosecution will review criminal background and provide recommendation.
- MHC staff makes referral to Hill Country MHDD to complete initial evaluation, intake, diagnosis evaluation, and treatment plan.
- Intake documents are reviewed by MHC team and decision is made whether or not to admit into the court program based on criteria, supporting documentation, appropriateness, and resources needed to meet the client’s needs.
- Client is admitted into the court on the next court hearing. Client is enrolled in program and progress in treatment is started, monitored, and reported to the team throughout the duration of the program.
Mental Health Court Materials
Download the MHC handbook here.
See our Mental Health Court brochure here.
Check out our Mental Health Court flyer here.
Mental Health Court Administrator
512-757-0795 (Call or text)