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“Lucky dogs” freeze in Eastland County

Jul 27th, 2014 | Category: Conditions in County Jails, Eastland County

Diane Wilson, co-founder of Texas Jail Project, along with many other Texans in county jails, has described the misery of being numb with cold and wrapping their arms with toilet paper…but you thought the problem was the terrible heat, didn’t you? A frustrating aspect of reporting about county jail conditions has to do with the temperature. County jails, unlike prisons, are mostly airconditioned whereas the state prisons are places of hot and terrible suffering, sometimes leading to death. The prisons get the attention, and people think that everything’s the same in local jails. Then they hear that the local jail is air condioned and think, “Well, those lucky dogs!”

Little do they know. The “standard” says the cells must be being betwee 65 and 85. Now imagine that the jail keeps it at the very minimum (if not below 65) and that you’re living on concrete wearing a thin polyester jumpsuit. Oh yeah, in many jails, you have no underwear and the women have no bra. You don’t have any activity or outdoor rec to give you a break either. And finally, don’t forget that more than 60% of you are pretrial—not yet convicted and thus should be treated as a citizen being held until her or his case is decided.

Here is the latest report of misery in a jail I’ve had bad reports on before:

“Eastland County Jail has the air conditioning set as low as it will go, they say they will have it ‘fixed’ but do nothing.  the inmates are freezing, teeth chattering, their bunks are like ice and if they complain, eventually, the officers cut it completely off which makes it very very hot.  The inmates tried to cover the vent and the officers removed the covering …  What about human rights for inmates? I  know they have rights to protect them from this kind of ‘abuse’.  If family members say anything the officers retaliate against the inmates.  Some inmates are actually innocent from what they’ve been accused of and shouldn’t be there.  Regardless of what they are there for, don’t they have rights to be taken care of while they are in the custody of the correctional facilities.”

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Jim Butler
6 years ago

Montgomery County is exactly the same. Although they have strict regulations regarding temperatures in jails and prisons, they are not followed. Even wen I asked to speack to the captain, he said that the temperature will not be changed for any reason. I finally got two pare of thermal underwear that when put on together, offered some relief. They give you no socks so I bough two of those and put them on. You can not cover yourself with a blanket from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for any reason.

You get a thin jump suit with short sleeves and a pair of rubber sandals and that is it. I feel sorry for the men that could not afford to buy these items but be assured I left them with an indigant man when I was released.

I pray God shows mercy to the people that place others in these harsch conditions. I really do pray that they will see their evil ways and turn from them. Whatsoever mercy they show to others will be the same mercy God shows to them. That makes my heart yern for them in spite of how they treated me. Even they deserve mercy and forgiveness. Although I have forgiven them, I will not ever forget what they did to me and countless others and will pray every day and work until I die to bring change to a heartless society that thinks this kind of treatment serves any means.

I pray that others will step forward and tell their stories as well. There is power in numbers. The hard part is that most people tell me that they are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation. As a Veteran and simply as a decent human being, I am not going to deny my morals and human rights by not speaking out no matter the costs. Where would this nation be if no one ever stood up? It costs Martin Luther King his life, but praise God, he stood up and was counted. We should all be more like him and not try to just “fit in” as “one of them”!

6 years ago

My grandson is in there now on suicide watch. My heart is breaking. He is a good boy.