Some agencies had made their proposals public earlier, including human services agencies that could save $303 million in state spending through such cuts as reducing Medicaid reimbursements for health-care providers and serving fewer patients at four state psychiatric hospitals, including the one in San Antonio. Those cuts would cost the state another $238 million in federal matching funds.About half of the beds in state psych hospitals are "forensic beds" which are used for competency restoration, or ensuring mentally ill people are stable and on their meds before they're tried. Texas has struggled to keep down the waiting list for these beds, and there have been times when jails must hold pretrial defendants many months before a state hospital bed opens up. This is both bad for the mentally ill defendant (sometimes very bad) and creates resource, staffing and classification problems for jails that drive Sheriffs nuts. Besides forfeiting federal matching funds, eliminating psych beds as suggested would create even more jail costs for local, county taxpayers.
This example shows how interrelated a great deal of criminal justice spending is, and how cuts to one part of the system can cause even greater costs for others. Shifting expenses from state hospitals to already overburdened county jails won't mitigate the state's responsibility to provide restoration services to incompetent defendants, it just gums up the system and pointlessly soaks taxpayers for services the state is ultimately still obligated to supply.