TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A new campaign called Eliminate the Wait will aim to protect the rights of people who struggle with mental illnesses.

The program will provide resources for judges, attorneys, jailers, and law enforcement officers to better address mental illness and divert people away from the criminal justice system when possible.

The program also provides treatment for people already in jail which shortens the amount of time they have to spend in the inpatient competency restoration system.

“Competency restoration laws were meant to help people with severe mental illness when they are unable to assist in their own defense or even understand the charges brought against them. But in Texas and many other states across the nation, this system is overwhelmed right now,” said Kristi Taylor, with the Texas Judicial Commission on Mental Health.

Smith County Judge Nathanial Moran was also involved with the Texas Judicial Commission to develop a pilot connecting mental health resources with the courts in East Texas.