This morning, Smith County Commissioners approved the formation of a pilot mental health court program.
Local mental health experts and county volunteers will soon create a task force to organize the trial program.
Supporters of the plan say the court is just one way to increase public safety while lowering jail costs.
"Over the last several years, every county in Texas has seen an influx of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system. And for ethical, and moral, clinical, humanitarian and very practical fiscal reasons, this is not the right venue in which to treat many of these people," said Dr. David Self, a psychiatrist.
The initial program will only accept up to 10 eligible defendants during the first year.