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Lead Article

Thanks to HB 1307, Pregnant Persons Will Receive Care

A woman is suing Collin County after she says she was denied the right to see a doctor while she was pregnant in jail, says Fox News.
The lawsuit alleges that she later suffered a miscarriage after enduring an undiagnosed urinary tract infection.
The lawsuit alleges that Collin County incentivizes its third-party medical provider for the jail to cut costs. It alleges that is what led to an inmate being denied the right to proper prenatal care, which, in turn, resulted in the death of her baby.
Lauren Kent says her cries for help for her unborn baby were ignored for 36 days while in the Collin County jail.
“I begged them for help on more than one occasion,” she said.

How many of us Texans know someone who was pregnant while in jail–often finding out they were pregnant after being jailed–and then lost the baby? Most of the time, that mother-to-be wasn’t receiving good ob-gyn care, good nutrition and good support. Then after their miscarriage, they were tossed back in the cell without any medical or mental health care. That’s why Texas Jail Project supported HB 1307, a bill REQUIRING that jails provide counseling and care for those jailed while pregnant, who then miscarried or were assaulted while confined there.

And the governor signed HB 1307, authored by Rep. Mary González, into law this month!! Small steps, folks. But they they make a difference for people in those cells. 
(Click CONTINUE READING to get the whole story.)

Featured Articles

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

You’re watching the news, and the reporter states, “William Larcenous will be spending the rest of his life in jail.” Or  a professor describes Mary Doe languishing in prison, awaiting trial. But neither is true—because jails and prisons are very different kinds of facilities and the people in them are there for different reasons. Using the word “jail” correctly is especially important for public awareness that the majority of people being held in their local jails are pretrial—not yet convicted.

Krishnaveni Gundu Leadership transitions at TJP!

Co-founder Krish Gundu transitioned into the role of executive director in 2020, and Dalila Reynoso joined us as community advocate and organizer! Krish Gundu has been a part of Texas Jail Project since co-founding it with three other women in 2006, and Dalila Reynoso, who has extensive experience advocating for immigrant rights in Smith County, Texas, is now working in all areas of justice advocacy in that part of Texas. Longtime director Diana Claitor continues to work at TJP as Communications Director.

Detainees wearing face masks How is Texas Jail Project helping during the COVID-19 crisis?

Families with resources and contacts: People in Dallas, Houston, Tyler, Victoria, San Antonio, Texarkana, and other towns are desperate for information about how county jails are protecting their loved ones from the virus. Remember, no visitors are allowed now since COVID-19! Also, no chaplains or educators or volunteers.

Families Speak Out

Smith Co Jail Prisoners’ Thank-You Note

Please notice how this handwritten thank you note on the next page says it comes from “PEOPLE who are inmates. “Hello Mrs. Dalila Reynoso: You make a difference in the lives of people who are inmates at Smith County Jail…..

In The News

Why Reimagining Safety Looks Different in Rural America

A Washington Post op-ed by Jasmine Heiss and Krishnaveni Gundu. April 29, 2021

In rural Texas….the rate at which poor, unconvicted people are locked up before trial has increased 22 percent in the past 10 months, rebounding sharply after an initial decline in response to the covid-19 pandemic. Across the state and nation, many sheriffs and other local elected officials are arguing that new and bigger jails are the unavoidable answer. But even before the rapid spread of covid-19 behind bars, we saw with painful clarity the frequency with which small-city and rural jails spread suffering and death.
The nonprofit Texas Jail Project has been documenting jail deaths, while working to reduce the harm caused in small counties where jails have usurped the role of emergency rooms and public health institutions.
Take the case of a 33-year-old woman who was in her second trimester while incarcerated for a probation violation in Brazoria County Jail in fall 2020. Instead of providing mandatory ob-gyn care and extra nutrition, the jail held her in solitary confinement. By the time her family received her alarming letters and reached out to advocates and state agencies for help, she had miscarried.

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.

Jailhouse Stories

Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas

Jailhousestories.org lets people across Texas describe, in their own words, the often-devastating impact of incarceration in local jails. The contributors come from some 34 Texas counties, revealing issues in both urban and rural facilities, with an emphasis on small to medium-sized jails. This collection of stories from families and individuals across Texas was possible by a generous grant from Public Welfare Foundation.