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.
Legal Issues & Jails
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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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. . . .
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
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.
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