Brint Carlton has been working to improve an Orange County jail that has been the scene of at least two high-profile suicides. The Senate and House committee passaged the Sandra Bland Act in Austin which will require more training in mental illness for law enforcement officers and jailers.
"The type of people going into jail now have more mental health issues and there is less mental health services provided by the state than there was in the past,” said Brint Carlton, an Orange County judge.
The bill would require a system in place to ensure the rights of adults in county jails are fully observed.
"The state will have to either take away money from other programs,” said Clinton. “If it really came down to it, we would have to raise taxes.”
If signed into law, the Sandra Bland Act would force all jails to offer mental health and substance abuse treatment to inmates.
"I think for the larger jails there going to have more resources available to them,” said Carlton.
The act requires investigations of all jail deaths. While Carlton believes the measure can help prevent suicides, he believes it can't completely prevent them. In February, an Orange County inmate was discovered hanged at the jail.
“The jail staff has to rely some on what the inmates are telling them,” Said Carlton. “If people are not identifying themselves as being suicidal then it's kind of hard to pick that out."
The Sandra Bland Act will now go to the full house for consideration.