On Thursday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the state’s Sandra Bland Act, named after the black woman who was found dead in a Waller County jail cell, into law.
Bland’s case was a controversial one. In 2015, she was pulled over by a state trooper, and what should have been a routine stop quickly escalated into a violent encounter. The officer, who was later fired for violating protocol, said Bland became uncooperative. She was arrested and jailed, and her death was ruled a suicide. It was later revealed that Bland might have suffered from depression and had a history of mental health issues.
The state’s new law requires jailers to immediately determine whether inmates suffer from mental illness and divert those who do to a mental health facility. That’s what should have happened to Bland, and that action could very well have saved her life.
Texas’ new law sets an example the rest of the country should follow.