Our agency works to protect and advance the civil rights of people with disabilities, helps people with disabilities when their rights have been violated and seeks to ensure that people with disabilities have access to information about their rights.

Every individual is guaranteed certain rights under the United States Constitution, the Texas Constitution and other laws. Some of these rights include:

  • The right to reasonably safe conditions of confinement, including access to adequate medical care and rehabilitation services
  • The right to refuse medication and unwanted medical treatment
  • The right to live in the most integrated setting

Some examples of our work in the area of protection and civil rights include:

  • Investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of people with disabilities
  • Ensuring that restraint and seclusion are only used in compliance with laws, regulations and best practices
  • Ensuring that the rights of individuals with disabilities who come into contact with law enforcement are protected

These resources are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.

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Featured Resources

Your Legal Rights Under Emergency Commitment

This handout provides the information you need to know about your rights if you are taken to an in-patient mental health facility on an emergency commitment.

Voluntary Patient Rights

This handout explains your rights when seeking voluntary inpatient mental health treatment.


Rights of People Receiving Involuntary Inpatient Mental Health Services

All people have certain basic legal rights, including people who have mental illness and people who are in mental health facilities.This document summarizes those rights.

Discharge Rights of Patients in Inpatient Mental Health Facilities

This handout explains what discharge is and the discharge planning rights for patients in inpatient mental health facilities.

Restraint and Seclusion Guidelines: Rights of People Receiving Behavioral Interventions

If you are placed in a mental health facility, this material has information you need to know about restraint and seclusion.

Legally Adequate Consent

This handout explains the requirements of legally adequate consent under state law, when legally adequate consent is necessary and who is authorized to give the needed consent for a person with a disability.

Considering Suing a Government Entity for an Injury?

This handout explains what you must do if you have been hurt by a governmental entity and are thinking about filing a lawsuit.

How to Make a Complaint About Inpatient Mental Health Services

This handout tells you about the complaint process in state hospitals and state centers operated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (“TDSHS”).

How to Make an Advance Directive

Texas law allows you to create a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment (Advance Directive) to control your mental health treatment in the event you become unable to make treatment decisions at a later date.

How to Change Your Guardianship without a Lawyer

A guide to asking for a successor guardian or guardianship restoration, modification, and removal in Texas.

Disability Discrimination in Correctional Facilities

This handout provides information about possible agencies, complaint procedures and deadlines that often apply when a person with a disability has a complaint against a prison, jail or juvenile justice facility.