Trouble in Mind

Trouble in Mind is a six-part series exploring the intersections of the mental health and criminal justice systems in Texas. It examines the case of Andre Thomas, a death row inmate who began exhibiting signs of mental illness as a boy and committed a brutal triple murder in 2004. Blind because he pulled out both of his eyes while behind bars, Thomas awaits a federal court's decision on whether he is sane enough to be executed.

This story is part of a collaboration with Texas Monthly magazine. Read the long-form narrative tale of the Andre Thomas case here.

Andre Thomas: The Mentally Ill, From Asylums to Jails

Andre Thomas in a photo taken during his teen years, left. Danny Thomas, Andre Thomas' father, top right. The State Insane Asylum in Austin, bottom right.
Andre Thomas in a photo taken during his teen years, left. Danny Thomas, Andre Thomas' father, top right. The State Insane Asylum in Austin, bottom right.

Texas has a long and unhappy history when it comes to mental health care. From the days of state-run asylums to underfunded local mental health services, those who have mental illness have faced daunting challenges finding care. 

Andre Thomas: Services Scarce for Troubled Youths

Andre Thomas with his son, Andre Thomas Jr.
Andre Thomas with his son, Andre Thomas Jr.

During his troubled adolescence, lawyers for death row inmate Andre Thomas say he never received the mental health care he needed. In Texas, there are few mechanisms to diagnose and treat youths who suffer from mental illness.