Texas’ Damning Disgrace, Part 2
February 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 21, 1882
Washington [County] has now in her county jail ten lunatics for the boarding of whom the county pays fifty cents per day cash, and also for their clothing and medical attendance. At this rate the county is now paying at the rate of $150 per month for the board of her lunatics, each of whom should be in a suitable lunatic asylum provided for and maintained by the state. Nearly every county in the state has more or less lunatics confined in its county jail, simply for the reason that the state lunatic asylum is already crowded with patients. It is the duty of the legislature to pass laws for taking care of the lunatics, all of whom are adopted as a charge by the state. All the counties are required to pay state taxes for the support of the general government. The state takes care of and provides for her convicts and under the Constitution should do the same thing for her lunatics, in fact the constitution says that the state must take care of her lunatics. Taxes have been collected until an enormous “cash balance” * has been accumulated in the state treasury, while in the meantime a large number of unfortunate lunatics are accumulating in county jails. The last legislature made a niggardly appropriation for the enlargement of the state lunatic asylum which is not yet completed, and when completed it will not be large enough to afford any relief in the way of ridding the county jails of lunatics. At present this county is maintaining her lunatics at an expense of about $2000 per year. Until the state provides suitable accommodations for the lunatics she should refund to the several counties the money expended by them in maintaining them.
* The predecessor to today’s “Rainy Day” slush fund.