Office of the State Forensic Director

The Office of the State Forensic Director (OSFD) works at the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems to improve the statewide coordination and oversight of forensic services and prevent justice-involvement for people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities. The OSFD provides policy leadership, subject matter expertise, and technical assistance which helps to shape policies and recommendations for behavioral health and criminal justice programs.

Joint Committee on Access and Forensic Services

The Office of the State Forensic Director liaisons with Joint Committee on Access & Forensic Services leadership and provides subject matter expertise to the full committee, as well as to the Access and Data Subcommittees.

Eliminate the Wait Statewide Campaign

The competency to stand trial process is designed to protect the rights of people who do not understand the charges against them and are unable to assist in their own defense. Texas faces a growing crisis in the number of people who are waiting in county jails for inpatient competency restoration services after being declared incompetent to stand trial. Not only has this increased costs and overburdened state agencies and county jails but it also takes a significant toll on the health and well-being of people waiting in Texas jails for inpatient competency restoration services.

Eliminate the Wait is a statewide campaign to increase competency restoration services for Texans by taking a comprehensive and integrated approach to this challenge. HHSC, in partnership with the Judicial Commission on Mental Health, is partnering with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, sheriffs and jail staff, police, and behavioral health providers across the state to change how Texas serves people at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice.

Campaign resources:

  • Eliminate the Wait Toolkit: This toolkit provides a set of strategies that stakeholders can implement to help Eliminate the Wait (PDF) for inpatient competency restoration services in Texas.
  • Strategic Planning Support: HHSC offers strategic planning support to communities across the state through Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) [PDF] Workshops. The SIM details how people with mental illnesses (MI), substance use disorders (SUD), and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) encounter and move through the criminal justice system. The SIM mapping process can bring together community leaders and different agencies and systems to identify strategies for diverting people with MI, SUD, and/or IDD away from the justice system into treatment and improve forensic services and the competence process.

Statutory Authority

Senate Bill 1507, 84th Legislature, Regular Session, 2015 tasks the State Forensic Director with the statewide coordination and oversight of forensic services and addressing issues with the delivery of forensic services in Texas including significant increases in populations with serious mental illness and criminal justice system involvement.

Resources

Mental Health Texas

Jail Diversion Services

Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health

SAMHSA Criminal and Juvenile Justice

U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs - Bureau of Justice Assistance

Reports and Publications

State Hospital Bed-Day Allocation Methodology and Utilization Review Protocol for Fiscal Year 2020 (PDF)

Joint Committee on Access and Forensic Services (JCAFS): 2019 Annual Report (PDF)

Texas Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Law Bench Book, Judicial Commission on Mental Health, Third Edition, 2021 – 2022 (PDF)

Texas Juvenile Mental Health and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Law Bench Book, Judicial Commission on Mental Health, Second Edition, 2021 – 2022 (PDF)

Contact

Email forensicdirector@hhs.texas.gov