Nearly 3/4 of the 1600 inmates in the El Paso County jail are awaiting their first appearance in court, which can take up to 45 days! Imagine how much money that wastes while wrecking families and the livelihoods of those being held pretrial. El Paso wants to change that. This excellent story in the El Paso Times calls it “controversial,” but it seems to us that the bail bondsmen are the only ones who find it controversial and they will say that about anything that cuts into their large profits. The real bottom line: “We spend a tremendous amount of money on our jails, and it’s not because we are keeping violent criminals in jail, is because for years we have been inefficient in the way we process these individuals,” says county Commissioner Vince Perez.
- The risk for diabetics in county jails
- El Paso plan reduces number of inmates
- Mom glad to see Harris Co improve
- Widespread abuse of pregnant inmates
- Maria Anna invites you to Jailhouse Stories
- Failure to Appear
- TJP’s Jailhouse Stories Go National
- Nueces County Jail: Facts vs. Lies
- 19th Century Harris County Jail: shouting to be heard
- When do you call on the feds to investigate?
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:
If you are a diabetic and are arrested for any reason, once you’re in a jail, you are guaranteed medical care, correct? No, not so much. The American Diabetes Association must have been to Texas lately because this piece opens by saying “People with diabetes frequently experience problems with medical care while in detention. The consequences of this improper care can be stark: periods of unconsciousness leading to injuries, infections and amputations, vision loss and blindness, hospitalization, brain damage, and even death. Even when no long term physical harm occurs, the fear and uncertainty caused by improper medical care can cause enduring emotional and psychological damage to people with diabetes in detention, and their concerned family and friends.” Texas Jail Project has had several reports of people in county jails who fail to receive the correct dosage of insulin and improper diets are very common.
Each month Texas county jails tally the number of pregnant inmates and report that to the Jail Commission. Some are only held there a few days, but others may be incarcerated for weeks and months and a number will deliver their babies in local hospitals while in custody.
Maria Ana shares about her son’s experience of being held pretrial in a Texas county jail for 3 years.
April, 2015, Gloria White emailed: “I have to say, Harris County is trying to improve this jail. Went to visit my son this week at 1200 Baker Street and was thrilled to see they had started installing phones to visit without screaming!! “They have added an Inmate Care form to their website…which I have used successfully, for a
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
California has an active and effective organization called Legal Services for Prisoners with Children( LSPC) doing work similar to the work of Texas Jail Project and Mama Sana and Moms of Color Rising. They recently formed a committee of advocates to launch a new strategy for improving health care for pregnant and post postpartum women in California jails and prisons. Their goals are excellent and practical but one points to the change that is desperately needed—a change in perception! Their goal describes it as “Shifting the paradigm around who people think women prisoners are, and figuring out how to get legislative campaigns and other information to a larger public.”
The American Friends Service Committee recommends that this country stop what it’s doing to incarcerated citizens and begin serious reform by taking the following steps. 1. Ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture. 2. Removing a human being from their community, depriving them of human contact, denying them of stimuli and subjecting them
“The best time to deal with a failure to appear case is before you are caught. There may be excellent defenses and negotiations possible to make this go away, and get you a new court date. However, if you are caught and arrested, your opportunities to argue for a reasonable outcome are much more limited.”