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!
Posts Tagged ‘ conditions in county jails ’
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!
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?
Hurry, put in your comment about inflated charges for inmates phone services before the March 25th deadline at the FCC site for public input! (Go to the end of this post and click on CONTINUE READING to get the link to the FCC)
After years of people calling, writing and petitioning, the FCC is taking action to stop the practice of prisons and jails using inmate calling services that charge hugely inflated prices to inmate families! Phones in a prison are “a crucial instrument for the incarcerated, and those who care about them, because voice calling is often the only communications option available,” said one commissioner.
Texas Jail Project is proud to be part of the campaign organized by Prison Legal News, which helped forge the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice and the Wright Petition. Sign the petition now by clicking on CONTINUE READING and then click on the link in the first line.
About 500 pregnant women are incarcerated in Texas county jails each month. Some are only held there a few days, but others may be incarcerated for weeks and months and a number will deliver their babies in local hospitals while in custody.
http://bexarcojail.com/pre-sentencing.php Interview with John, Colby, Nikki, Lea, Hoyllwood, Woody and Raquel JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process: John: It was long, slow, and boring. You are mixed in with murders, drunks, everybody.You often get hungry, thirsty, and it just sucks. Colby: 3 month wait to see a Judicial Court Judge 290th. Nikki: before you
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.