Amid debate to defund the police, Dallas County DA’s plan to divert mentally ill offenders does something better

It should not be against the law to be mentally ill. Yet the Dallas County jail is perennially the second largest mental health treatment facility in the state — trailing only its counterpart in Houston.



a close up of a person: Julie Turnbull, chief of the restorative justice division in the DA's office, understands that businesses need mentally ill and homeless individuals removed from their property. "Rather than arrest them at all, we want to engage them with services."n


© Lynda M. Gonzalez/Staff Photographer/The Dallas Morning News/TNS
Julie Turnbull, chief of the restorative justice division in the DA’s office, understands that businesses need mentally ill and homeless individuals removed from their property. “Rather than arrest them at all, we want to engage them with services.”n

That unjustly grim statistic has been reported so often that many Texans brush right past it, just as we do the mentally ill individuals loitering outside convenience stores or asking for money in shopping center parking lots.

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But not Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot. He vowed after taking office to end another form of insanity: Tossing these suffering individuals onto the same old legal hamster wheel

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