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Lufkin Jail: Not Humane?

Mar 27th, 2007 | Category: Angelina County, Conditions in County Jails

To the editor of the Lufkin Daily News (printed March 27th, 2007)
It’s easy to forget that people in jail are human beings in addition to being inmates. While you may not personally know anyone in the Angelina County Jail, those inmates are still neighbors and fellow citizens, fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters—and while in the county lockup, they should be treated humanely.
After all, under the American system of justice, they are considered innocent till proven guilty and even if convicted of a crime, they have a right to food, water, a clean place to sleep, medicine if they are sick. Nothing fancy, just decent treatment.
That doesn’t seem to be the case in the Angelina County Jail. I have received calls and emails about a jail where the inmates return to the jail after a hard day’s work outside and don’t get any supper. A place where a sixty-something year old man isn’t getting medication that he needs to stay healthy. Inmates are often ridiculed and cursed if they complain about being hungry and laughed at if they ask for a grievance form, despite that being a legal right of inmates.
And several concerned relatives have said that nobody in authority will even respond to their questions.
I’ve spent time in Lufkin and my family roots go deep in Cherokee County. Recently I co-founded the Texas Jail Project—our group asks sheriffs and county commissioners to pay attention to conditions in their hometown jails. I hope that people in Angelina County will join us in asking questions and reminding the officers at your jail that as Jesus said, “What you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”
Diana Claitor, director
Texas Jail Project (texasjailproject.org)

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