At Grassroots Leadership, we advocate and organize against private prison, detention centers and behavioral health treatment centers. Diverting those with mental health concerns from the criminal justice system into community treatment programs. Ultimately, those with mental health issues are not diverted but instead forced into a failed criminal and mental health system — especially in Houston, Texas. Read more about I took a tour of the Harris County Jail Mental Health Unit. Here’s what I found.
"Now, armed with her new diagnosis, Norma could understand the source of her anxieties. The constant sense of foreboding, the extreme fear of speaking in class, the guardedness around her white colleagues — these were classic examples of PTSD-associated hypervigilance.
[...] Her work has become more rewarding too. She left her old job at the Texas state capitol at the end of 2016, knowing that the Republican-dominated legislature planned to pass a statewide immigration crackdown that mirrored Trump’s agenda. She now works in mental health and criminal justice advocacy with Austin-based Grassroots Leadership." Read more about What Happened to Norma's Brain?
"Latasha Taylor, a member of that cohort and a mental health organizer at Grassroots Leadership, talked with Into the Fold about empowering members of marginalized communities to seek out and create—through activism, advocacy and good communication—alternatives for mental health wellness and recovery that operate outside clinical settings.
Taylor aims to energize and mobilize people who, like herself, feel disempowered by inadequate mental health services. Achieving system-wide equity and efficacy, she believes, requires building a 'place and space' of community wellness beyond diagnosis and treatment." Read more about Activism for Mental Health
"Cate Graziani, a researcher with Grassroots Leadership who tracks the private prison industry’s movement into treatment and civil commitment programs, says the Littlefield contract felt like a 'consolation prize' after Correct Care failed for several years to privatize another state hospital.
'We had just told the state all about this company’s track record of serious problems, and then we turn around and they’re putting people in Littlefield months later,' she said." Read more about A Prison By Any Other Name
On Wednesday May 11th, members of the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition visited San Antonio, TX to learn more about Bexar County’s jail diversion programs. Hosted by the Center for Health Care Services (CHCS), the group met with program administrators, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and representatives from mental health and judicial services of Bexar County. Read more about Mental Health and Criminal Justice Coalition Visits Bexar County
All too frequently, we have seen what happens when public institutions, from state agencies to public schools, lack independent, external oversight. They fail to achieve the efficiency that comes from increased transparency, and often identify abuses far too late. Texas has implemented external oversight for the state's juvenile correctional system, but TDCJ continues to operate the largest prison system of any state without independent oversight.
Texas must acknowledge its duty to protect the rights and well being of those under the supervision of its state agencies. Implementing external oversight of the adult corrections system will help policymakers and agency staff create safe environments for those who live and work in prisons and state jails, with benefits to units, Texas communities and families. Read more about Graziani, Smith: Better state jail oversight can curb suicides
When I asked Diana Claitor, Executive Director of the Texas Jail Project, which jail in Texas offers an example of what’s working, she replied without hesitation: Brazos County. Read more about Criminal Justice and Mental Health Coalition Visits Brazos County Detention Center
Austin, TX - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced yestarday that they are awarding a tentative five year contract to GEO Care, a spin off and former subsidiary of private prison company GEO Group, to operate Terrell State Hospital. Texas HHSC hopes to have a decision on whether or not the state will enter a contract by the end of the year. This award comes as a result of a HHSC Request For Proposals (RFP), issued on June 9, 2014. Read more about Advocacy groups express concerns about tentative contract with GEO Care to operate Terrell State Hospital
Austin, TX - A majority of advocates are sounding the alarm after the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) issued a Request for Proposals for operation of Terrell State Hospital on June 9th. According to the RFP, DSHS plans to award a five-year contract as soon as August 15, 2014. Read more about Advocacy groups sound alarm that privatization could negatively impact patients, employees, & Terrell, TX community