Use of Tarrant County’s Jail Diversion Center should increase thanks
to an expanded list of misdemeanor offenses eligible to be diverted.
Expected outcomes: More people will receive appropriate care and fewer detainees will be in jail due to mental health or addiction issues.
What they’re saying: “The
Tarrant County Jail Diversion Center has already shown great success in
diverting individuals away from the criminal justice system and towards
more appropriate care and services,” Fort Worth Police Chief Neil
Noakes said. “With this expansion, we can expect even greater outcomes
and a reduction in the number of individuals who end up in jail due to
untreated mental health or addiction issues. Additionally, the expansion
of this program will benefit officers by saving valuable time on calls,
reduce the possible need to use force, and help alleviate jail
overcrowding for misdemeanor offenses.”
Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks, chair of the Mental Health
Jail Diversion Advisory Committee, said: “We have agreed on an expansion
of charges that are acceptable for the Mental Health Diversion Center
and found a way to transfer persons from the County Jail to the
Diversion Center. It will make a huge difference in fulfilling the
mission of the Diversion Center to the citizens of Tarrant County.”
criminal misdemeanor trespass was the only eligible offense that
allowed a detained person to be taken to the Mental Health Jail
Diversion Center instead of being booked into the Tarrant County Jail.
Under the new plan, these offenses are eligible:
- Misdemeanor theft
- Possession of marijuana
- Disorderly conduct
- False report
- Terroristic threat if there is no violence
In addition to
expanding eligible charges, there is a new process at the Tarrant County
Jail. During the book-in process, a conference between My Health My
Resources (MHMR), the originating law enforcement agency and the Tarrant
County jail supervisor will determine if charges can be dropped and the
individual diverted to the center.
All offers of diversion are
made at the discretion of the law enforcement officer. The detained
person must volunteer to be taken to the diversion center.
The center opened in January 2022. At full capacity, it can accommodate about 40 people.