Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments
Continuity of Care for Offenders with Special Needs
Provides pre-release screening and referral to aftercare treatment services for special needs offenders referred from the Correctional Institutions Division, state jails, SAFPF's, local jails, or other referral sources.
Continuity of Care activities include:
- Identifying offenders with special needs who require aftercare treatment services.
- Participating in joint treatment planning with Institutional Units, State Jails, SAFPF's, local jails, or other facilities in order to provide a positive transition from incarceration to the community.
- Securing resources in the community for all offenders referred with special needs.
- Working towards improved systems of coordination and communication among local and/or state criminal justice, social service, and other appropriate disciplines to ensure responsiveness to the needs of offenders with special needs.
- Post release follow-up through monthly reports.
Medically Recommended Intensive Supervision (MRIS)
The MRIS program provides for the early parole review and release of certain categories of offenders who are mentally ill, mentally retarded, elderly, terminally ill, long term care or physically handicapped. The purpose of MRIS is to release offenders, who pose minimal public safety risk, from incarceration to more cost effective alternatives. HB 1670, enacted during the 78th Legislative Session, made the following changes to the MRIS program, which is effective to date:
- Excludes offenders sentenced to death
- Established that offenders with aggravated convictions may only be considered if a medical condition of terminal illness or long-term care has been diagnosed.
- Establishes a parole panel to be composed of the presiding officer and two members to make release determinations on eligible offenders and those pending deportation
- Establishes that eligible offenders determined to be non-U.S. citizens, deportable and not a threat to public safety, may be released to immigration authorities
- Directs TCOOMMI to present relevant information to the parole panel concerning the potential release of eligible offenders
- Repeals the section requiring offender placements being limited to one skilled nursing facility, thus allowing for expanded placement options.
HB 1670 excluded sex offenders from MRIS eligibility. The 80th Legislative Session, however, enacted HB 2611 allowing MRIS consideration for those offenders if "in a persistent vegetative state or being with an organic brain syndrome with significant to total mobility impairment". Also, enacted during the 80th Legislative Session was HB 431, allowing MRIS consideration for defendants convicted of a state jail felony.