FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 28, 2015
Austin, TX — Today, Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Representative Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) met with the Nacogdoches Sheriff’s Department. The meeting was regarding the lack of access to care and limited capacity in local jails to house offenders with mental health issues.
"I appreciate the Nacogdoches Sheriff’s Department for meeting with myself and Rep. Clardy to discuss this important issue which is present in not only East Texas, but also the entire state," said Senator Nichols. "The Legislature must continue our work to find solutions to this problem. This includes ensuring there is proper funding as well as improved access to care and capacity at our mental health institutions to house these individuals."
Currently, the Nacogdoches County Jail has 90 out of 220 offenders who have mental health problems. Without adequate facilities and services for mental health inmates, an unsafe/unsecure environment can be created for not only the guards but also the offenders themselves.
"The mental health care needs of inmates in our county jails has been a consistent concern of our sheriffs and a growing problem in East Texas. Obviously, it's a health issue, but it's also a security, safety and fiscal issue as well,” said Representative Clardy. “ I'm glad to join Senator Nichols in meeting with our local county officials to get the perspective of those who deal with these issues daily, as we formulate practical and effective legislative solutions. "
The Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee and House County Affairs Committee have both recently met in Austin to discuss how the State can provide meaningful reforms and ensure that this important issue is being properly addressed by the Legislature.