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The JCMH has partnered with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to develop a pilot project focused on enhancing coordination between courts and behavioral health providers. The Community Diversion Coordinator Pilot Program is intended to divert defendants with mental illness who are charged with nonviolent misdemeanor offenses from the criminal justice system. The JCMH requested applications from counties to participate in the pilot project no later than June 30, 2021. Three counties were selected and will be provided funding for a Community Diversion Coordinator to be employed by either (i) a lead criminal court judge in partnership with a probate judge; or (ii) the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA). The Community Diversion Coordinator will (i) report to the lead judge, (ii) work with judges, lawyers, defendants, LMHA/LBHA and providers, and (iii) have access to jails, courts, and LMHA/LBHAs, including electronic health records, court records, case files, and 16.22 reports, as necessary to assist on the case.
The selected counties are: