Locked in Limbo | A Catalyst Project | KXAN.com

Every year, thousands of mentally ill men and women languish in Texas' county jails. Incapable of standing trial, they wait in line behind hundreds of other people — sometimes over a year — for a bed in a state hospital to get the help they need. As Texas' population booms, its leaders have recognized this problem is also growing, but their efforts to shrink the backlog have failed. In 2019, the number of people stuck on the state's waitlist — with their cases stalled and constitutional rights possibly violated — reached historic levels. These are the stories of the families caught up in this broken system and the state's struggle to find solutions.


The number of Texas inmates waiting for state hospital beds steadily rose from just over 200 in February 2015 to a record 1,017 in November 2019.

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