TARRANT COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH DIVERSION PROGRAM
What is the Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program?
The Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program is a post-booking, pre-trial diversion program for mentally impaired offenders. The program offers eligible offenders a treatment option that is judicially supervised. It is designed to divert mentally impaired offenders out of the traditional criminal justice process and into appropriate rehabilitative alternatives. Once the offender has been screened and approved for participation in the program, he/she will promptly begin a treatment regimen that is specific to his/hers needs.
The mission of the Mental Health Court Diversion Program is to identify mentally impaired offenders, to expedite them through the criminal justice system and to help them achieve mental stability and non-criminal behavior.
The goals of the Mental Health Diversion court Program are to:
- Divert mentally impaired offenders from the criminal justice system;
- Assist mentally impaired offenders achieve stability and reduce recidivism; and
- Reduce cost by using existing government agencies and treatment providers.
What is the Criteria for Participation in the Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program?
The participant must demonstrate significant mental impairment as documented by a mental health professional prior to the offense.
*Criminal History – A current offense must be related to the mental impairment. Misdemeanors and low-level, non-violent felony offenses are considered. Violent offenses against persons, especially if a weapon is involved, are NOT accepted. Exception: Family violence cases are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Criminal District Attorney Approval – ALL cases are reviewed by the Criminal District Attorney’s office for final approval.
Conditions – Participants must agree to comply with the conditions of the program.
Conditions of the Mental Health Diversion Program:
- Must admit to the commission of the offense by entering an open guilty plea and agree that this admission may be used against the defendant in court, as provided by law.
- Must not commit a criminal offense for the duration of the program.
- Must not consume alcohol or non-prescribed controlled substances.
- Must submit to random chemical testing.
- Must cooperate with mental health treatment and/or counseling as recommended.
- Must take all psychiatric medications as prescribed.
- Must keep all appointments and attend all compliance hearings as scheduled.
- Must agree to report to MHDP office and all other appointments as directed.
- Must keep the program staff informed of any changes in address, telephone number and employer.
- Must consent to the release of protected information as permitted under Texas law.
- Must have no contact with any person of disreputable or harmful character.
- Must waive his/her rights to a speedy indictment, if charged with a felony offense, and to a speedy trial as provided for under the Code of Criminal Procedure of Texas, as well as the Texas and United States Constitutions.
- Must acknowledge that failure to comply with any term of this agreement will cause the State to withdraw from this agreement and proceed with prosecution of this offense.
- Acknowledge that upon successful completion of the diversion agreement the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw plea of guilty, the State of Texas shall dismiss the charge in this matter and the charge will be eligible for expunction. However, this result is applicable only to charges that were specifically admitted to this program in anticipation of a diversion and dismissal.
- Must attend monthly compliance hearings held in open court as directed.
- Must agree to follow any/all directives given by MHDP in accordance with their individual treatment plan and program goals.
Entry Process and Referrals
Referrals – Referrals are accepted from a variety of sources, including law enforcement, jail staff, judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, mental health professionals, family or friends. All completed MHPD Referral Forms should be faxed to 817-884-1748 or emailed.
Criminal District Attorney Review – The initial referral must be within 90 days of initial appearance or by the third setting. The defense attorney must agree to the case being referred. Once a referral is received, the Criminal District Attorney’s Office reviews it to insure the minimum criteria are met.
Initial Screening – Following CDA review the defendant is given a date and time to complete screening forms and participate in an orientation to MHDP at the MHDP office.
Assessment – Prior criminal record, offense reports and medical documents are reviewed to establish eligibility for program admission.
Interview – A face-to-face interview is scheduled and completed to confirm eligibility and to determine suitability.
Criminal District Attorney Approval – Once the interview is complete, the case is sent to the Criminal District Attorney’s Office for final approval or denial.
Time Restrictions – The screening and interview process must be completed within 180 days after the case has been initially approved for consideration by the Criminal District Attorney’s Office.
Delivery of Program Services – Each participant is required to follow a treatment plan as specified by the program manager and the treatment provider.
Supervision Monitoring – A case manager will monitor each participant placed in the program, working closely with the service providers and the program manager. The program manager will recommend an initial treatment plan and individualized program goals. The case manager will routinely staff the case with the program manager. The program manager will meet with the participant during phase three of the program to determine completion eligibility and to determine alternative program goals, treatment plan and additional interventions as needed.
Compliance Hearing – All participants are required to attend monthly compliance hearings. During the hearing, the court serves to hear and monitor progress and/or non-compliance issues. Incentives, interventions and sanctions are used as methods of motivation.
Disposition of Court Case – A typical diversion period is 12 months in duration but could continue for up to two years. The period directly relates to a participant’s need and/or compliance. Upon successful completion of the program, the case(s) is/are remanded to the court of origin for dismissal of all charges. In the event, the agreement is terminated, the case(s) is/are also remanded to the court of origin where a new proceeding can move forward.
For more information on the Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program see the MHDP Brochure
Contact our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Team
Our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys offer Free Consultations for all criminal cases. If you think that the Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program might be a good fit for you or a loved one, contact us today so that we can answer your questions. Call (817) 993-9249.