Some sheriffs ignore the law when it comes to the constitutional rights of people held in their jails. Inmates have the right, for example, to receive and read publications, even when the sheriff or jailer doesn’t approve of the magazine, book, or newspaper. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards explains that in a letter posted on their website last fall, saying, “In other words, personal preferences of jail staff should not be a basis for banning a particular publication.” (See http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/TAMemoPrisonLegalNews.pdf) We here at Texas Jail Project hope the Jail Commission’s letter will reduce the number of Texas jails telling families “the only book your inmate is allowed is the Bible.”
Posts Tagged ‘ Texas Commission on Jail Standards ’
In this new story picked up by the New York Times, a Henderson county lawyer complains about a judge who has the nerve to speak out about jail operations. “He has absolutely no business trying to be a doctor from the bench,” says Robert Davis. Of course, Judge Tarrance has all the business in the world doing that, since people have reported ongoing neglect and mistreatment –numerous cases! Texas Jail Project heard from a woman last week who was forced to stay in a cell totally naked and denied her right to call a lawyer or bailbondsman. And like most of the inmates, she was not yet convicted, but was being held pretrial.
So the county is outraged by a judge who took the unusual steps of ordering medical care and going public? We say it’s about time.
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!
Attention: Nacogdoches County
When jailers and sheriffs disapprove of an inmate, does that give them the right to deny that person fair treatment? Humane conditions? A trained jailer should surely know that the answer is “no,” and that verbal abuse and judgmental attitudes can be disastrous for inmates with serious problems. Like Cathryn Windham, 7 months pregnant and currently incarcerated in your county jail. Pre-trial, convicted of nothing but accused of many things. All of which may not even be true. This college graduate has a long-documented history of mental illness and yes, she has used drugs. And so it would appear that you have found her guilty of being an imperfect mother-to-be. I suggest the jail, sheriff, and this county are failing her by not recognizing mental disorders in a pregnant woman are a complicated business, and not necessarily deserving of hostility and punishment.
Lamesa Press Reporter An inspector with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards paid a surprise visit to Dawson County Jail on Tuesday, May 7, to conduct the annual state inspection of that facility. That inspection did not turn up any surprises for the jail staff or the Dawson County Sheriff Office. “There were no deficiencies
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.
“I would just like to tell everyone out there that there is hope and we can change things if we stand up and never give up, no matter if it takes awhile and with alot of determination, it can be done. I have fought corruption in Taylor County and we did get JUSTICE, not only for my son but others that were in the Taylor County Jail. It was a long and hard fight, but with the determination that I had and the help of someone who is a hero to me, Lance Voorhees, we saw justice.And thanks to Texas Jail Project! They came to Abilene when I contacted Diana. She and a group if TJP members drove up here and talked to citizens of Taylor County.”
In late 2012, Brandon Wood became executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) after former director Adan Muñoz retired.
Another man is dead after being “restrained” in the Dallas county jail. While Dallas has worked hard to pass inspections by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, questions remain: is there something fundamentally wrong with the culture or the command? Are too many guards required to work overtime in a high stress environment? Whatever problems exist, Sheriff Valdez must find out and prevent further deaths. We don’t want to keep reading line’s like this one: “At issue is the question of whether restraint by the jail officers caused or contributed to the Nov. 10, 2011 death of George Barnes Koomson.”
Our sympathies to the family of George Koomson.
Texas Jail Project has been monitoring the number of complaints and calls for help from inmates inside Dallas County Jail, and the numbers are down. This week, one mother in California who was worried about her son reported that she was relieved to hear her son had received treatment for the flu that many inmates have right now. This is good news, but we still look for more improvement, since the #1 search term used most often on the Texas Jail Project website is Lew Sterritt, the name of the Dallas county jail – and that’s because a lot of people are looking for information and help in dealing with this jail.