The Marshall Project has published Maurice Chammah’s new story about Marine veteran Adan Castañeda with the subtitle, “Does he belong in a prison or a hospital?” Looking at his history of mental illness and trauma, it seems obvious that the 28-year-old former scout sniper needs psychiatric care in a hospital. But when he goes on trial, he could receive a long sentence in TDCJ, despite the fact that he did not injure anyone when he shot up his parents’ house. During the more than three years he’s been held pretrial in the Comal County Jail, he has deteriorated. His mother reports that Castañeda no longer always remembers his service, and he often expresses fear and paranoia. While she believes her son can be well again, she doubts that outcome is possible in a prison setting.
- A Texas Vet and His Demons
- Gaines County: Abel Vasquez dies after suicide attempt at jail
- James McGowan dies in Montague County Jail
- Gregory Lange dies in the Tom Green County Jail
- Inez Trujillo Jr dies in Duval County Jail
- Helping the pregnant women in our jails
- To stop inhumane treatment now
- Stopping Prison—and Jail—Privatization
- National report matches our reports from Texas families
- Helping families help a loved one in 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:
Texas Jail Project supports all efforts to reduce the number of privatized county jails and prisons in Texas. We work with Grassroots Leadership to supply information and to educate lawmakers and county officials about the detrimental effects of this commercialization of our justice system, but it’s an uphill battle in Texas, which leads the nation in the number of detention facilities that are privatized. Now, GEO and CCA and the other money-hungry private companies are pulling in millions off the backs of immigrants. This excellent article from the American Friends Service Committee tells what it’s like for the people held in those places and follows the money as well: “”Immigrant detention is a growth opportunity for for-profit prison companies, expanding their business model from state and federal prisons.”
In late October, a “North Texas aunt” emailed Texas Jail Project about our ongoing efforts to help her nephew who was neglected in a county jail. She wrote: “I appreciate all of your efforts more than words can express. My nephew was moved to a new facility which has more medical available and is receiving all of his medication now. They also have given him something to help support his injury. I think that your efforts made them see that there were people watching and people who cared about this particular inmate. It is the only explanation as to why he started getting medical and MHMR treatment when there are stories of so many who do not. ”
The following article describes the struggle of another Texan to get help for a son, during his 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 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
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.