HARRIS CO., Texas (FOX 26) - Eight months. That's the best estimate before things return to normal. That's why one man who has asked us not to use his name is so grateful a judge released his schizophrenic daughter we will call "Joanne" from jail before her hearing.
"He did let her out on a personal recognizance bond on Tuesday."
She's lucky. While the criminal courts have been more or less reestablished after Harvey, the court that hears mental competency restoration cases is effectively shut down says her lawyer Staci Biggar.
"If you go up and look you see the list when they're saying this court has this docket and this court has this docket. We're not on the list," Biggar says.
When mentally ill people enter the criminal justice system, they get sent to a mental hospital for treatment to make them mentally competent.
Then they go back to the jail's mental ward.
That is when the system is operating normally, but Biggar says there have been no mental competency dockets since before Harvey. That means none of those inmates are leaving jail so there's no room in the ward. The inmates are going into the general jail population.
"Instead they are de-compensating in the jail and we're going to have to start the process all over again which is not only bad for the client. It's bad for the taxpayers because we're going to have to spend that money again doing what we just did," she says.
Plus, there is the constitution which guarantees them due process. Joanne's father hopes her ordeal will end on Tuesday.
"If we can get her before the judge, get her a plea so she can get a new program and start her new life," he said.