Please join us for an evening of fun and music featuring Gina Chavez! This house concert will take place at the lovely historic home of Ginny Agnew and Chuck Herring, known for progressive leadership, poetry, politics, and great parties.
Thursday, November 13th, 7 pm to 10 pm
1204 Castle Hill Street, in Clarksville, Austin
Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be served and all ticket sales benefit the nonprofit Texas Jail Project.
- National report matches our reports from Texas families
- Come to the House Concert in Austin, Thursday, Nov. 13th!
- Did jailers take Iretha Lilly’s symptoms seriously?
- My son: a Marine veteran in solitary
- Are Texas jails holding too many people pretrial?
- How do Texas county jails treat pregnant inmates?
- Ban the Box: people with records working out well
- “Lucky dogs” freeze in Eastland County
- Starting a Pretrial Intervention Program
- Thursday, Aug. 7th: Jail Standards quarterly meeting
Who We Are and What We DoThe Texas Jail Project seeks to improve the conditions for approximately 65,000 people—mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, and daughters—who are incarcerated in Texas county jails. Our issue areas include:
The numbers of people dying in county jails are adding up in 2014. On October 6th, 37-year-old Iretha Lilly died hours after being tased by a McLennan County deputy; because of many reports to us of jailers failing to respond to a person in a medical crisis, we have to ask how long was Ms. Lilly in heart failure before she was taken to the ER? The recent death of 18-year-old Victoria Gray was especially tragic and needless. She died in September in the Brazoria County Jail after that jail failed in so many ways, it will take a full investigation to find the truth and hold officers and officials accountable. So many people are dying, most of them not yet convicted, and yet their deaths are not always investigated. (Our list is only of deaths within county jails, not police custody.) Earlier this year, when Courtney Ruth Elmore died in the Brown County Jail, was staff properly trained to watch for respiratory failure? David Grimaldo, 18, a Perryton High School student died just hours after being booked into the Ochiltree County Jail. Sheriff Joe Hataway reported that the teen died of a medical condition—could a quicker response have prevented his death?
Maurice Dutton understands the feeling of complete helplessness in the face of mental illness. His son Michael was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 14. Three years later, in 1980, he was involuntarily admitted to Austin State Hospital after local facilities proved inadequate to help him. For the rest of his son’s life, Maurice watched Michael’s painful journey through Texas’ mental health and prison systems.
“My son Adan is in solitary confinement. Why? Because the jail considers that is the “safest” way to hold someone with a medical/mental condition. I was told that is for his good and the good of others. He does not have the opportunity to eat or mingle with other inmates. He has been in solitary confinement
Do you know that everyday Texans are losing jobs and being disconnected from their families while waiting for their cases to be processed? They are the “innocent until proven guilty” and their numbers are astounding: 60% of the people in your average Texas county jail haven’t yet been convicted of anything, but are kept behind
A woman cries out for help, but the correctional officers ignore her and she is forced to go through labor and give birth with no help. The infant dies. Other women have described similar scenarios to Texas Jail Project co-founders Diane Wilson and Diana Claitor, and we have posted a video of a woman describing how she gave birth alone in a cell–with a happier ending, since her baby lived. Click through to see that video and read more about Nicole Guerrero’s lawsuit against the Wichita Falls Jail.
The American Friends report to the UN describes the inhumanity of the U.S. justice system and the mistreatment of humans in our prisons and jails. Family members across Texas are reporting on similar conditions in many in our Texas county jails. Will Texas legislators step up and demand changes?
“At the close of 2012, the U.S. led the world in incarceration rates1 with over 2.2 million adults held in prisons and jails. Why is this the case? Deeply flawed policies focusing on punishment − not healing or rehabilitation − have created a pipeline through which economically disadvantaged populations are funneled into prisons and jails. Incarcerated individuals are frequently exposed to deplorable, cruel, and dangerous conditions of confinement that no human being should experience.”
Once the initial charging decision is reached in a case, a prosecutor is concerned with the appropriate resolution. Experience tells us that cases can be broken down into four simple categories:
• good people doing something stupid;
• bad people doing something stupid;
• good people doing something bad; and
• bad people doing something bad.