When Brenda Martin recalls how her only child’s life came to an end at the age of 37, she knows there was not one isolated event that caused his early demise. But she’s convinced that although he didn’t die in custody, the 73 days he spent in Caldwell County jail directly contributed to his death.
Posts Tagged ‘ children of the incarcerated ’
Judging pregnant women is easy to do, especially when they’re in jail. To hear people talk, you would think that these women set out to a. get pregnant and b. get themselves thrown in jail. Worse still, some officers and officials go on to dismiss any incarcerated woman as immoral, irresponsible, and unconcerned about her baby.
Consequently, when she complains about a lack of food, water, and vitamins, or a lack of medical care, everything she says can be dismissed as a lie. But you already knew that all inmates lie, right?
In a new, in-depth investigatory series from RH Reality Check, we hear an LVN answer a staffer reporting a pregnant woman in extreme distress by saying, “You can go eyeball her and call me back if you want. She’s probably full of shit.” After an agonizing amount of neglect and trauma, that woman’s twin babies died.
Finally! Houston Chronicle reporter James Pinkerton brings attention to an often overlooked subject that is so important to prisoners and their families: visitation at the Baker Street jail. Texas Jail Project has long wanted to shine a light on what one older father called 19th century conditions when he came to visit his son week after week, and couldn’t hear anything he said.
This excerpt is from our interview (see Inmate Stories) of an observant woman held 13 months there: “At Harris County Jail, the visitation rooms do not provide telephones; they have plexiglass windows with holes in them through which inmates and visitors have to shout at one another to be heard. It is extremely stressful to receive a visitor because it is so difficult to hear anything over all the shouting that is going on [around you]. I finally worked out a system with my uncles, who came to see me regularly, to bring paper and pen and we communicated by writing messages to one another, instead of trying to yell through the plexiglass…. Thus, even visitation was an unpleasant and stressful event ….” Despite her loneliness and despair during her long pretrial detention, when she saw how hard visitation was on family members, she told them to stop coming.
I have been fighting for justice for my younger brother since he passed away in 2012 [in the Bexar County Jail]. Tommy was a shy, but friendly, outgoing person, filled with more love and kindness than anyone I have ever met. Oh, how his smile was infectious and his laugh was always sincere and contagious! Tommy worked as an electrician for over 8 years, as well as helping out friends and family with anything they might need. His daughter was 3 years old when he passed away—she has his smile and his personality and that keeps his memory alive.
In North Carolina, the Ban the Box campaign—removing questions about conviction history from initial job applications– is producing good results, both for the counties and for people who have served their time and want to work. We need to see more of this in Texas! Reported by a great newsletter produced by California advocates at Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.
From his wife and the mother of his little girl: “Miss and love ya! Greg was a good friend, a loving father, a talented surfer, painter, and had a heart of gold. My husband battled mental health issues and as we all know Texas cut the budget for mental health a huge amount…”
IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY, HERE IS A TRIBUTE BY LACEY, DAUGHTER OF AMY LYNN:
Tomorrow will be the second Mother’s Day spent without my beautiful Mama. There hasn’t been a day yet that I didn’t think about her and the wonderful memories she left behind. She was a beautiful person with a good heart and the best of intentions. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve thanked her for the life she blessed me with as well as the unconditional love she had for me, my brother, and my sister. We miss you so much, Mom… I know if you were alive now, you’d be proud. With the love and support of each other… we’ve grown up alot. I just wish you were here to see…. I love you, and I know in my heart… I’ll see your beautiful face again oneday. ♥
TJP says it’s about time! Thanks to Razor Wire Women for this posting.
A coalition of prison family members and representatives of secular and faith based organizations serving prison families from across the United States in attendance at the 2012 National Prisoner’s Family Conference affirmed the following
Journalist Leonard Sipes Jr. cites revealing numbers about women inmates in Texas jails, in his report about incarcerated women.”In Texas, women were more likely than men to be clinically depressed, to have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and to be diagnosed with lung disease and sexually transmitted diseases. “
Texas Jail Project is a group that works on issues to do with county jail, not Texas prisons – and since there are 245 county jails in Texas, we have our work cut out for us. But my work as a writer drew me to a non-jail topic; when a friend raved to me about the women and babies at the BAMBI program I knew I wanted to explore that in a story. Here it is in the new Texas Observer: http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/babysteps