Texas Jail Project About Stories Reports In The News Jailhouse Stories Peer Voices In Your Community Contact Donate

Lead Article

COVID-19 in Jails: Urgent Medical Response Needed

Doctors and advocates are considering how COVID-19 will create a dangerous public health crisis in our county jails that will affect the communities around those jails as well. Marc Robinson, MD and Co-President for Doctors for Change and Krish Gundu, Co-Founder, Texas Jail Project, suggest proactive steps to slow the intake of new people into the jails as well as some commonsense measures to protect both the incarcerated and the staff inside. “Speaking as a physician,” says Robinson, “we need bold, urgent measures to reduce the risk of jails becoming vectors for the spread of COVID-19. These may be difficult to do within our current jail infrastructure, but are necessary to protect our patients and communities.”

Featured Articles

People Bring Powerful Stories to our Racial Equity Workshop

Do you know anyone who feels like the color of their skin made it harder for them to get services or find a job or get legal help? Maybe you yourself have felt the effects of racial bias when trying to get mental health care or when defending yourself in the criminal justice system. Other people of color know what it’s like to be disrespected becuase of their sexual orientation or because of not speaking English. We recorded those story at our workshop in Dallas, Saturday, January 18th! The turnout was great and the videos are awesome. It will take more time to get them edited, and so please stay tuned!

70 Million podcast Summer 2019 Newsletter

Texas Jail Project is the focus of two episodes of 70 Million, a national documentary podcast about criminal justice reform. New York journalist and radio producer Rowan Moore Gerety has followed the work of Texas Jail Project for years, and he saw the potential of our history and advocacy for this acclaimed series. The first

Why is it important to differentiate between county jails & prisons?

You’re watching the news, and the reporter solemnly states, “William Larcenous will be spending the rest of his life in jail.” Or describes Mary Doe languishing in prison waiting for trial.

That’s not going to happen! Why?

 “Jails” and “prisons” are not the same thing. We use the terms interchangeably—and incorrectly. JAILS are run locally and most of the people held there are NOT yet convicted. The length of time people stay in jails varies from 1 day to many months. PRISONS confine people who are convicted and sentenced to a certain amount of time, usually at least a year.*

Using the word “jail” correctly is especially important for public awarenessof of the large percentage of people being held pretrial—not yet convicted—in their local jails. 

Families Speak Out

Clinton Harrington MEMORIES OF CLINTON HARRINGTON

My son, Clinton Joseph Harrington, was born on July 24, 1986. He died on October 18, 2018 while in pre-trial custody in the Victoria County Jail. Information from the Medical Examiner and Texas Rangers raises serious concerns about the conditions of Clinton’s confinement and the circumstances leading up to his death. We have chosen not to comment on the details of that information at this time. Clinton was 32 years old at the time of his death.

In The News

Fox News 7 interview with Texas Jail Project Executive Director Diana Claitor CRIMEWATCH: Mental Health and Jails

An increasing number of the people held in our county jails are people living with mental illness or disabilities. Fox News 7 interviews Texas Jail Project Executive Director Diana Claitor about her thoughts on the problem. 

Habeas Corpus

If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial …

There is a legal filing to make sure a person found incompetent is hospitalized or removed from the jail. If your loved one has been found incompetent to stand trial due to mental disability but has continued to be held in jail without treatment, the person’s lawyer can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the court that requires the county to provide him/her with appropriate medical care—in other words, send them to a hospital. Once the court grants the Writ, the Sheriff must comply. Go to next page for the Writ, which you can download.

Pretrial Detention

Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas

“Sharing my story might not make it more safe for myself, but I would like to make it safe for someone else,” says John Brown, who was jailed at Dallas County Jail for two and a half years while awaiting trial. His story as well as others reveal what happens to unconvicted people held in jails, mostly because they cannot afford the bail—a practice outlawed in many developed nations.
Last year, Texas Jail Project launched a website, “Jailhouse Stories: Voices from Pretrial Detention in Texas.” Collected over a two-year period, these powerful stories document a pattern of mistreatment and poor conditions experienced by those incarcerated in county jails while pretrial—innocent in the eyes of the law and awaiting their day in court.