In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice did did a huge national study, ranking more than 350 jails by the rate of sexual abuse reported by prisoners. Houston’s Harris County Jail came in third. To make matters worse, many of those raped while held in our Texas county jails are unconvicted—pretrial detainees—who make up more than 60% of
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“”The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, created in 1957 by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, works to uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
We believe that those “vulnerable members” include people in Texas county jails. Especially in those counties where we hear from numerous familes begging for help for loved ones: sons abused by other prisoners and guards, pregnant daughters losing weight and needing care, veterans with mental illness locked in solitary, geriatric parents needing medical care. That’s when you call on the DOJ.
The American Friends report to the UN describes the inhumanity of the U.S. justice system and the mistreatment of humans in our prisons and jails. Family members across Texas are reporting on similar conditions in many in our Texas county jails. Will Texas legislators step up and demand changes?
“At the close of 2012, the U.S. led the world in incarceration rates1 with over 2.2 million adults held in prisons and jails. Why is this the case? Deeply flawed policies focusing on punishment − not healing or rehabilitation − have created a pipeline through which economically disadvantaged populations are funneled into prisons and jails. Incarcerated individuals are frequently exposed to deplorable, cruel, and dangerous conditions of confinement that no human being should experience.”
I’m James Bernard, a pastor and a disabled veteran. I was jailed on a warrant by the Judge on a probation revocation due to a failed urinalysis. Although I had provided my probation officer a letter from my doctor stating what medication I took–Phenobarbital—and that it was necessary for seizures, the officer failed to turn
If you want to contribute your ideas or report on conditions in a jail, consider coming to the QUARTERLY MEETING of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The next one is THURSDAY, AUGUST 1ST. It starts at 9 am and there is a very brief period for public input soon after it starts. Be aware this is not a discussion with commissioners: you go to the podium, state your name and get 3 minutes to tell them about your concern. They will not respond because that is the format–they listen but do not talk with you. But your complaint is on the record and everybody knows about it.
The Abilene Reporter ran a piece at the end of February providing a forum for Sheriff Les Bruce (above left) in which he describes the superiority of the Abliene jailers over Houston jailers and says they committ very few “errors.” TJP’s Director– and many citizens in Abllene–beg to differ. Read Claitor’s comment she posted at the newspaper.
I remember when Shelly wrote me about her husband, and how sick and sad I felt when I learned her husband Lisandro had died in that jail. She had also written the Commission on Jail Standards and they were no help either. Here is what she said back in 2010:
“I wrote you about my husband to you over a month ago, he died due to lack of medical care. . . his name was Lisandro Torres and we have a 16 yr old son. The jail maintained until his death he was faking after a massive stroke and was having problems breathing, chest pain, could’nt swallow and was tormented by several jailers and nurses. Nobody would listen and still wont but he sent me the proof three weeks before he died and over 100 letters [about what was happening.]”
I would like to thank Diane and Diana and the Texas Jail Project for coming to Abilene and showing the medical neglect and mistreatment of inmates in the Taylor County Jail. She listened to our stories when everyone else had a dead ear.
I would like to think Diane and Diana and the Texas Jail Project for coming to Abilene and stepping in on making the medical neglect and mistreatment of inmates in the Taylor County Jail. She listened to our stories when everyone else had a dead ear. She helped my son Westley Freeman when he was
by Kenneth Ware, Houston Chronicle Relatives of a 72-year-old mentally ill man spent Father’s Day protesting outside the Harris County Jail, where he died five months ago. Community activist Quanell X and two dozen other people marched, chanted and displayed photos of Norman Hicks Sr., who died in January of fatal injuries received inside