Prisoners who are Mentally Incompetent Jailed Too Long, Judge Rules

Criminal Competency

Prisoners who are found mentally incompetent to stand trial cannot be held at a county jail for more than three weeks, a state district judge ruled on Jan. 23, 2012. The judge said that Texas regularly violates constitutional rights of prisoners declared mentally incompetent by keeping them in jail up to six months before moving them to psychiatric hospitals. He also said the Department of State Health Services must start moving people who have been ruled incompetent to state psychiatric hospitals within 21 days of receiving a judge’s order. The ruling comes from a 2007 lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Texas. The Attorney General’s Office has not decided if it will appeal the case.

Read more details on the Austin American Statesman website.