Legal Issues & Jails

Starting a Pretrial Intervention Program

Jul 16th, 2014 | By

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.



County records private calls between lawyers & inmates

May 21st, 2014 | By

A sheriff’s department in Texas recorded what should have been private phone calls between lawyers and inmates, and provided prosecutors with copies of the conversations, a federal lawsuit alleges.
Such a breach would violate the attorney-client legal privilege and may have hindered the ability of lawyers to defend their clients in court.



McLennan County: Shipping Human Beings for Profit

Apr 7th, 2013 | By

Read this and see if you can find any place where it makes any mention of the detainees as human beings. There is a bit about how it will be a problem for attorneys trying to represent them, but that’s it. Why isn’t there something about the impact on the people involved and their families?
“A deal to send McLennan County inmates to Polk County to make room for more federal detainees in a Waco jail is drawing criticism from a top Polk County official who says his jail has plenty of room for the federal detainees. Some Waco attorneys also are questioning the deal, saying having their clients housed 175 miles away in Livingston would create logistical problems.
McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said officials are working out kinks in the plan. It would take effect only if the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s San Antonio district decides to send more detainees to Waco, which he said would benefit the county financially.”

They are working out the kinks, to make sure that the deal makes more money for the county. This is what we have become, folks.



Combat Veterans Get Special Treatment They Deserve

Jan 21st, 2013 | By
Combat Veterans Get Special Treatment They Deserve

“Given that combat veterans’ PTSD issues often manifest in aggressive behavior, it flies in the face of reason not to take violent cases,” said Isabel Apkarian, a former assistant public defender in Orange County. “I don’t know how you have a veterans court without taking those clients.”
So Instead of spending two years in jail, a Marine in an Orange County court gets sentenced to therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, to counseling for substance abuse and then, to college–special treatment that he would not get in many Texas counties which do not have veterans courts for felons. Or any veterans court at all. Texas Jail Project knows of veterans sitting in jail cells across this state, because their counties don’t ensure timely trials and treatment, let alone create a veterans court. Read here about a different way to help combat veterans charged with criminal acts.



A Citizen’s Guide to the Texas Criminal Justice process

Nov 28th, 2012 | By
A Citizen’s Guide to the Texas Criminal Justice process

This Citizen’s Guide is full of answers to questions you may have about criminal charges–there is a box showing the kinds of misdemeanors and felonies–plus vicitims’ rights and much more. Thanks to the State Bar of Texas for providing this free of charge! Continue to the main story to get a link to download the whole booklet.



Jails Break the Law When They Record Conversations of Lawyers & Inmates

Mar 20th, 2012 | By

In many jails, administrators do whatever they want, like record privileged discussions between inmate and attorney. Here is an important story about that from Harvey Rice in the Houston Chronicle:

“Most jails in Texas indiscriminately record conversations, Davis said. He said the sheriff of Matagorda County, where he is representing a client, has “hours and hours” of recordings of their conversations.”



PLN Sued Galveston Jail for Blocking Books

Jan 12th, 2012 | By
PLN Sued Galveston Jail for Blocking Books

Texas Jail Project has heard from family members with inmates in the Galveston jail who are unable to receive books ordered from publishers – even in one case, a Bible. Worst case scenario was a wonderful young woman named Ana facing childbirth for the first time, alone and without comfort or advice as her mother was living and working in Europe. Ana’s mother ordered a book shipped to help Ana understand some of the physical changes, pain and problems she was having, but the jail would not allow her to have it!
So it’s very satisfying to see that a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court against Galveston County, Sheriff Freddie Poor, former Sheriff Gean Leonard and a Sheriff’s lieutenant. The suit alleges unconstitutional censorship at the county jail in violation of the First Amendment. Read about it here. . . .



Amy’s Law Requires Records on the Turnover of Jail Staff

Apr 12th, 2011 | By

This Texas Tribune story was about a bill that will require jails to report the turnover of their staff…so that jails with high turnover of guards and jailers, like Gregg County, where Amy Lynn Cowling died this past Christmas, will be more closely monitored. Jails like this are more likely to have escapes, sexual trafficking



Chaplain Can Re-enter the Brownsville Jail

Dec 29th, 2010 | By

Educator Gail Hanson is a valuable volunteer with Texas Jail Project; we congratulate her and her hard-working legal team for this settlement that restores her right to be a chaplain and to help the women in the Cameron County Jail.



Lawsuit Against Abilene Sheriff is Upheld

Nov 2nd, 2010 | By

Forced to Give Birth in Taylor County Jail CellPress Release from Taylor County Juvenile Justice Center Abilene, Texas, November 1, 2010: The Honorable Sam R. Cummings, an Article III federal judge, refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Lance Hunter Voorhees, a former volunteer chaplain for the Taylor County Detention Center. Sheriff Bruce’s challenge of