Judge Kristin Wade's Mental Health Diversion Court
Dallas County Misdemeanor Mental Health Jail Diversion Program The Mental Health Jail Diversion Program is funded by TCOOMMI which is the Texas Commission on Offenders with medical and mental impairments. This grant has been in place with Dallas County since September of 2003. The funding provides for five days of crisis housing and intensive case management. Judge Wade volunteers her time to judicially monitoring participants in the mental health jail diversion program. The participants in the program are released from jail on a personal recognizance bond and they are supervised for a six month period by Judge Wade. If the client successfully completes the program their criminal case is dismissed and they have a clean slate.
In the program, clients pay no probation fees and are not required to do any kind of community service. The program is designed to get people with mental illness into the services they need and get them back on track for a productive life. The grant pays for intensive case management so the clients get a very caring case worker who is able to do things like take them to look for housing, help them apply for SSI, help them obtain food stamps, and also aid in fillng out job applications. In addition to these types of services, clients are given group counseling, individual counseling and intensive drug and alcohol treatment if necessary.
Judge Wade has obtained funds from the Swanson Family Foundation to provide Community Voice Mail for all the clients in the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program. This service provides all clients with a secure and private voice mail system which enables them to apply for jobs and receive messages. In addition, the community voice mail offers a job hot line. Through another funding stream, Judge Wade is able to provide bus passes for the clients in her program as well as long term in-patient drug and alcohol treatment if needed.
The Mental Health Jail Diversion Program serves 40 to 60 clients at any given time. As clients graduate, new clients are constantly added. Most misdemeanor offenses are eligible for this program and the clients are most often charged with criminal trespass and prostitution. Over 70 percent of the clients in the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program suffer from dual diagnosis which means they have problems with drug and alcohol abuse as well as managing their mental illness.
Since 2003, The Mental Health Jail Diversion Program has diverted over 1,200 clients from jail and into services. It was one of the first Mental Health Jail Diversion Programs in the United States and Judge Wade has traveled to the National TAPA GAINS conference to collaborate with other advocates and professionals in the mental health community. Numerous counties across the state of Texas have visited Judge Wade's Court in order to implement a similar program in their jurisdiction. Most recently, Lubbock County made an intensive site visit.
Political advertisement paid for by the Judge Kristin Wade Campaign,
P.O. Box 670081, Dallas, Texas 75367.