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Texas officials in Travis County last month announced funding to create what they say is the country's first stand-alone mental health public defender office to provide legal representation for persons with mental illness unable to afford attorneys.
The Mental Health Public Defender Office, slated to open October 1, is located in Travis County in central Texas near Austin. The establishment of the office will help link the county's justice system with community-based mental health resources.
The Texas Task Force on Indigent Defense awarded Travis County a multi-year grant, with $500,000 awarded in the first year, to create the office. The task force is a division of the state Office of Court Administration, which provides professional support involving the delivery of indigent services throughout the state.
The new office, which …