Voices of Texans in Pretrial Detention: “Jailhouse Stories”

Lead Article

Voices of Texans in Pretrial Detention: “Jailhouse Stories”

“Sharing my story might not make it more safe for myself, but I would like to make it safe for someone else. Hopefully, the cycle will be broken one day,” says John Brown, a contributor to Jailhouse Stories who was jailed at Dallas County Jail for two and a half years while waiting for a trial.
This week, a new website, “Jailhouse Stories: Voices from Pretrial Detention in Texas,” was released by Texas Jail Project. Collected over a two-year period, these powerful stories document a pattern of mistreatment and poor conditions experienced by those incarcerated in county jails while pretrial—innocent in the eyes of the law and awaiting their day in court.

Featured Articles

August 4th: the next meeting of the Jail Commission August 4th: the next meeting of the Jail Commission

Each meeting starts at 9 am, and anyone can attend! You can speak during public input, which is at the very beginning, but the commissioners and staffers pay attention but do not respond. They will allow public speakers about 3 minutes. (You can also give them a letter.) Meetings occur in Austin every 3 months,on the first Thursday of that month. Continue for more info about the meetings of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Austin: New Sheriff Should Support Inmate Programs Austin: New Sheriff Should Support Inmate Programs

County commissioners and law enforcement across Texas often talk a good game about reducing recidivism and diverting people with mental illness. However, at the same time, many officials—and the jailhouse culture—erect barriers to programming that could help inmates while they are incarcerated. Romy Zarate says such programs can turn a life around. “I was probably in the county jail about four times. Without the programming, I was in and out,” says Zarate. “When I was in, I was planning where I would score when I got out; after the programming, I stayed out.”

Next Jail Commission Meeting: May 5th Next Jail Commission Meeting: May 5th

Each meeting starts at 9 am, and anyone can attend! You can speak during public input, which is at the very beginning, but the commissioners and staffers will simply listen and will not respond to you at that time. They will allow public speakers about 9 am; limit your remarks to 3 minutes. (You can also give them a letter.) Meetings occur in Austin every 3 months,on the first Thursday of that month. Continue for a link that with more info about meetings of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

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Pretrial Detention

A Pattern of Assaults & Deaths in Harris County Jail A Pattern of Assaults & Deaths in Harris County Jail

People are dying while awaiting disposition of their cases in Houston.
“Ellis and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, another critic of the bail system, have said nonviolent offenders – especially those arrested for misdemeanors – should not be jailed while awaiting a trial.”

Families Speak Out

Family Perseverance Helps Get Care Family Perseverance Helps Get Care

From the mother of a mentally ill daughter at Travis County Correctional Complex: “I received a call from KT today, a nurse at TCCC. My daughter signed a release. Many misunderstandings cleared up & all is well…..well, I hope it will be fine but I am reassured and the nurse was able to obtain family history and some of my child’s medical history. that helped so much because my daughter was unable to explain clearly. Very productive call… Without the help of Texas Jail Project, I would not have fingernails left!”