Hank died a terrible, unnecessary death in the Bowie County Jail, which is run by a private prison company with a bad reputation: Community Education Centers. I always suspected the family would have a good case if they decided to sue. Last week, I receieved a noted from Dr. Parks, Hank’s good friend, and then I saw the story in the Washington Times about the federal lawsuit.
His family members and a close friend contacted Texas Jail Project soon after his death in 2012 and gave us all the information as they agonized over his painful death. We encouraged them to write the following bio of his life (On the next page) Their bio is full of rich details and stories of a life well lived, of a man valued by his community, especially the little boys he took fishing. We hope the jail staff reads it and thinks of him every time somebody in their facility is in pain and calling out for help.
- Mentally ill Texans have to rely on ER and jails
- Mentally ill Texans have to rely on ER and jails
- Hank’s family goes to court for justice
- Filmmaker wants to hear about Harris County Jail
- Harris County: tougher punishment for poor/people of color
- TJP director speaks at County Affairs hearing
- Instead of Travis County Jail: A Sobering Center
- In the Grayson County jail, cameras are the eyes
- Some Texas jails are banning books!
- Cali & Texas: in step to stop nighttime releases
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:
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.
People + too much alcohol = public intoxication charges. The right formula? Not really.
Consider the results of those arrests: a. Pretrial detention in a jail, where anything can and does happen to a person sobering up.
b. a criminal record for people who are often otherwise law-abiding.
c. officers waste hours booking drunks instead of pursuing serious criminals.
Of all the arrests in a year, about 10% of them are for this Class C misdemeanor, crowding the jail cells. Houston and San Antonio already have sobering centers. This healthier alternative to the Travis County Jail is explored in an editorial from the Austin American-Statesman, March 12, 2014.
Betty Madewell speaks fondly of her son, Bobby. 51-year-old Bobby Madewell, Jr died last March in the Gregg county jail. His family filed a lawsuit against the jail just a few weeks ago. The days are a little longer now for Betty Madewell of Longview, who says she is still mourning the loss of her son, Bobby.”It’s very hard, we miss him dearly. We miss him every day,” she says.
If you currently have a family member who has been diagnosed with a mental illness and is incarcerated in the Harris County Jail and would like to share your story please contact me on 212 397 5068. We are interested in the issues mentally individuals face when they are in jail, how their illness began, whether the individual had problems getting the mental healthcare they needed before they went to jail, and the difficulties families face in dealing with this.
(212) 397 5068
By Lise Olsen, Houston Chronicle, September 15, 2013 Johnnnie Mason, then 55, declared his innocence in March 2012 after his girlfriend claimed he hit her with a board. Mason, an African American who was homeless, was held without bond for eight months before being acquitted of felony assault charges. A new study shows that African Americans
The international community is now reading about Texas in this new report on shackling in the U.S. Unfortunately. Some of the information is derived from research and observations by Texas Jail Project.
A medical officer at a Texas county jail wrote us about her job & what inmates need to know. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to hear this from those working inside jails, especially since more people have died in just the past few weeks–inmates in Gregg and Bexar and Ector counties.
“To My Inmates,
Yes, I call you “my” Inmates. Sometimes I even call you my kids. There are 600 of you and one of me, the Medical Sgt. I am a nurse. I care what happens to you. I care what your family is going through while you are here. When I interviewed for my job I was asked what would be the most difficult thing I felt I might have to go through. My answer…… losing one of you. A death in custody. You are my responsibility.”
If your loved one says the county jail won’t give her or him a grievance form, get one from Texas Law Help, and mail it to her or him! A guide and grievance forms for various Texas jails are on this Texas Law Help website. Without a grievance, inmates will find it almost impossible to sue a jail or county, no matter what happens to them in there.