Some sheriffs ignore the law when it comes to the constitutional rights of people held in their jails. Inmates have the right, for example, to receive and read publications, even when the sheriff or jailer doesn’t approve of the magazine, book, or newspaper. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards explains that in a letter posted on their website last fall, saying, “In other words, personal preferences of jail staff should not be a basis for banning a particular publication.” (See http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/TAMemoPrisonLegalNews.pdf) We here at Texas Jail Project hope the Jail Commission’s letter will reduce the number of Texas jails telling families “the only book your inmate is allowed is the Bible.”
- In the Grayson County jail, cameras are the eyes
- TCJS and lawsuits remind jails–inmates have the right to read!
- Cali & Texas: in step to stop nighttime releases
- New York Times Story on Henderson County Jail
- We ask San Antonio: how is the jail now?
- 10 million misdemeanors deform our justice system
- A GEO Group Rap Sheet: For-Profit Misery and Death
- Sheriff and County Judge Oppress Panhandle Women
- Behind bars for lack of money
- Equality for LGBT Inmates at Harris County Jail
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:
This article looks at Geo Group and asks what they are delivering for the big bucks they are making? Turns out it’s a bad deal for prisoners, guards and for the rest of us too. GEO’s cost-cutting measures have resulted in “inadequate training, low pay, and high turnover of corrections staff as well as chronic understaffing. Further allegations of civil rights abuses and medical neglect have resulted in individual and class-action lawsuits brought against the company.”
Former Swisher County Sheriff Benavidez has been charged with official oppression–as a public servent, he intentionally subjected another person to mistreatment. Or in this case two people. Both his victims have had to file a lawsuit, because they were punished for reporting the assaults and lost benefiits and pay, after county judge Harold Keeter actually refused to press charges. Both women were humiiated and sexually assaulted; the good news is that the second woman had her cell phone camera on during the whole nasty incident!
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.
A wife reports serious neglect: “My husband is in the Harris County jail right now and they lowered the dosage of a psych med for PTSD, if they give it to him at all. He also has a severe calcium deficiency and no one bothers to give him the calcium packets anymore after he was moved
The teenager opened her neighbor’s unlocked car, grabbed the iPhone off the armrest and ran home, a few doors away in her downtown neighborhood in New Orleans.
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.