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A son lost to a Texas city jail

Ron Converse

Look into the eyes of Ron Converse, to understand the cost of no regulations of city jails. His son, a 26-year-old welder from Wisconsin named Chad Silvis, killed himself in the Kemah City Jail after being arrested for public intoxication. He was pretrial, thus still innocent.

City jailers in Texas don't have to meet the minimum standards that county jails do. State officials aren't even sure how many city jails are operating across Texas, but estimate there are at least 350. Diana Claitor, director of the Texas Jail Project, describes this death as an unnecessary tragedy for families. She said, "People have blinders on and don't seem to be willing to work on this issue of suicides in jails."

Read St. John Barned-Smith's story to find out how such tragedies can be prevented.

Arrested just after midnight, Silvis was charged with public intoxication and placed in the Kemah City jail, held in part because of concerns he could hurt himself. Forty minutes later, officers found Silvis hanging in his cell from a noose he'd fashioned out of a blanket.


Barned-Smith S. 06/13/2015 Suicide in Kemah jail draws attention to lack of state oversight of city lockupsThe Houston Chronicle.

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