Tarrant County Jail inmate with cognitive disability is released to a living center

A Tarrant County Jail inmate whose mother says shouldn’t have been incarcerated due to an intellectual and developmental disability has been released and transferred to a state supported living center.

Kai’Yere Campbell, 21, was incarcerated for six months at the Tarrant County Jail, but he didn’t understand why, according to his mother Shantel Taylor.

“He is a child who cannot comprehend the adult world,” Taylor said in a statement sent to the Star-Telegram. “But now he is being punished by the justice system for behaviors that are a symptom of his developmental disability.”

Taylor says her son has the cognitive ability of an 8-year-old.

Campbell was arrested in December on charges of assault of an elderly person, which occurred at a group home. When police were called to the incident, the group home staff asked officers to take Campbell to the JPS Health Network for treatment. Instead, he was taken to the county jail, according to Tarrant County Commissioner Alisa Simmons.

An undated photo of Kai’Yere Campbell, who is 21 years old and has been held at Tarrant County Jail since December.
An undated photo of Kai’Yere Campbell, who is 21 years old and has been held at Tarrant County Jail since December.

“Kai’Yere is now in an environment in which he should have been initially and not the county jail where he was taken after he experienced an episode in his group home and hit a worker,” said Simmons in a statement Friday.

Although Campbell was deemed incompetent to stand trial and was ordered to a mental health facility, authorities said in May that there was no space to send him anywhere.

Simmons says Taylor is relieved and grateful that her son has been moved out of the jail.

“I am grateful to United Fort Worth and the Texas Jail Project for bringing Kai’Yere’s case to my attention so that I could assist in expediting his transfer out of Tarrant County Jail to a facility equipped to provide the appropriate care for his disability,” said Simmons.

Campbell was taken to a living center in Mexia, Texas.

The person Campbell allegedly assaulted was a 72-year-old nurse in a group home where the 21-year-old was living. However, the nurse never wanted charges filed against Campbell, United Fort Worth organizer Pamela Young told the Star-Telegram.

Taylor and Young previously asked the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to drop the charges against Campbell, emphasizing Campbell’s need for care and not punishment.

“While I am pleased to see he [Campbell] will be getting the support he needs, I am repeating my call for Tarrant County District Attorney Phil Sorrells to use the power he has, known as prosecutorial discretion, to dismiss the charges against Kai’Yere,” said Simmons in the statement. “Then, and only then, can Kai’Yere Campbell and his family find peace while he receives the care that he needs.”