Diane Wilson, co-founder of Texas Jail Project, has described the misery of being numb with cold and wrapping her arms with toilet paper…but people think anybody with air conditioning is a “lucky dog.” Now, listen to the current “conditioning” in the Eastland County Jail: “They have the AC set as low as it will go, they say they will have it ‘fixed’ but do nothing. the inmates are freezing, teeth chattering, their bunks are like ice and the inmates tried to cover the vent and the officers removed the covering …” And she reports that if family members complain, the officers take it out on the inmates.
Posts Tagged ‘ conditions in county jails ’
If you currently have a family member who has been diagnosed with a mental illness and is incarcerated in the Harris County Jail and would like to share your story please contact me on 212 397 5068. We are interested in the issues mentally individuals face when they are in jail, how their illness began, whether the individual had problems getting the mental healthcare they needed before they went to jail, and the difficulties families face in dealing with this.
(212) 397 5068
To BEXAR COUNTY families:
Bexar County’s sheriff is now Susan Pamerleau and she has said, “I pledge to the citizens of Bexar County to make public safety my number one priority, with a strong foundation of stewardship of taxpayer dollars; improvements in jail operations; and family violence prevention initiatives.”
Please email us at Diana@texasjailproject.org to report all experiences with the jail in the past year. Texas Jail Project also wants to know about diversion programs in Bexar County–how well are they serving the people of San Antonio?
Former Swisher County Sheriff Benavidez has been charged with official oppression–as a public servent, he intentionally subjected another person to mistreatment. Or in this case two people. Both his victims have had to file a lawsuit, because they were punished for reporting the assaults and lost benefiits and pay, after county judge Harold Keeter actually refused to press charges. Both women were humiiated and sexually assaulted; the good news is that the second woman had her cell phone camera on during the whole nasty incident!
Is this a new day or what? Harris County’s Sheriff says, “We stay ahead of the curve…” and institutes a gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender policy that is comprehensive and progressive. Sheriff Garcia of Houston is in charge of the third-largest county jail in the U.S., where 125,000 are booked annually. At least 2.8 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Harris County’s new policy concerning inmates prohibits discrimination or harassment of any kind based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, we hope this means that LGBT inmates will also get good medical care and decent treatment–a concern since we are still hearing of Houston inmates of all genders and identifications who don’t necessarily get that while incarcerated there.
Not saying that caring for 8, 900 human beings is an easy job. Just saying it’s an important job to do right.
A harmful new trend in jail mail has already shown up in Texas, and people need to speak out against it quickly, before it spreads. The Prison Policy Initiave has a fact sheet on the bad effects on families and society, and they make recommendations. I hope the Texas Commission on Jail Standards notes # 2:
2) State regulatory agencies that are responsible for jail oversight should prohibit postcard-only mail policies.
Click on through for the rest of this informative fact sheet!
A wife reports serious neglect: “My husband is in the Harris County jail right now and they lowered the dosage of a psych med for PTSD, if they give it to him at all. He also has a severe calcium deficiency and no one bothers to give him the calcium packets anymore after he was moved
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.
A medical officer at a Texas county jail wrote us about her job & what inmates need to know. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to hear this from those working inside jails, especially since more people have died in just the past few weeks–inmates in Gregg and Bexar and Ector counties.
“To My Inmates,
Yes, I call you “my” Inmates. Sometimes I even call you my kids. There are 600 of you and one of me, the Medical Sgt. I am a nurse. I care what happens to you. I care what your family is going through while you are here. When I interviewed for my job I was asked what would be the most difficult thing I felt I might have to go through. My answer…… losing one of you. A death in custody. You are my responsibility.”
“He lost his apartment and his car. Most of his possessions were in a dump somewhere. His debt was in the thousands. The brother he provided for was sent into transitional housing.
“Anthony Dorton was finally out of jail. But his path to freedom had come with a cost.”
This well-written story from California describes and explains what happens to so many people held in Texas county jails, in lengthy pretrial detention, awaiting hearings or trials or paperwork the county just can’t get around to. Just like this innocent man who was released after ten months, their personal lives are shattered and they often end up with no job, no car, no home–due to the failure of our local courts to serve all the people fairly.
The truth was stated in the tag line for this story and it sums up the bottom line in Texas: “Most inmates are in our jails because they’re poor.”
When are our counties going to step up and find solutions to correct these inequities for impoverished Texans?