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Families Speak Out: Their Loved Ones Died in our Jails

Oct 12th, 2015 | Category: TJP Newsletter

Texas families receive support, information and advocacy from our two staffers. We are in critical need of small donations to continue this work! Please go to texasjailproject.orgto donate by regular mail or through PayPal. Any amount! Thank you.

Stop Needless Deaths!

The death of Nathan King from an illness he contracted in the Polk County Jail in 2015 is very different from Sandra Bland’s death in the Waller County Jail….or is it? And how different from them is the tragic death of 18-year-old Victoria Gray in the Brazoria County Jail?
— All three died before their time, leaving their families devastated.
— All three had mental disorders at some point in their lives.
— All three died as a result of a lack of medical and mental health care, a lack of oversight, and a lack of accountability for staff in county jails.
Please read about Victoria (lead story) and Nathan (featured story) and Sandra Bland (Women in Jails) on our website: texasjailproject.org , and see our new video of Carlota Torres telling the story of her family’s experience when their son was in the Bexar County Jail—in Spanish with subtitles.

In the News: Scores of reporters have been asking Director Diana Claitor and Project Coordinator Emily LIng for quotes and information. We’ve given data and stories and connected them with Texans like Connie Griffin, who recently lost her son to suicide in the Denton County Jail. The resulting story, “Cry for Help,” in Denton County Jail highlights many issues and features the work of Texas Jail Project. We are proud of Connie for telling her story to help other families feel less alone and to expose the trend of criminalizing and punishing those with mental illness. Read the full article here.

84th Legislative Session: Texas Jail Project’s advocacy and work with Rep. Celia Israel’s office on care for pregnant inmates received a Best Justice for Mamas Behind Bars award from the Austin Chronicle and more importantly, through the hard work of many, HB1140 became law on Sept. 1st. The bill requires a study on the medical care, nutrition, and treatment of the 4,000 pregnant women jailed each year, and,  for the first time, requires jailsto report on miscarriages and post-birth infant deaths. Read more about this law here.

Interim Session: The County Affairs Committee held a long hearing that TJP contributed to, and in September, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on jail safety. The Texas Jail Project was there with four families who drove from long distances to testify about the flaws in our jail system. John Gray spoke of his daughter who committed suicide in the Brazoria County Jail last year, describing how people with recent histories of mental illness are neglected and left unsupervised in jails. We were impressed with Senator Menendez’s ideas to improve county jails and hope to work with his office on recommendations for next session.

New Partnership with the UT Civil Rights Clinic!
We are excited to announce that the UT Civll Rights Clinic will be partnering with the Texas Jail Project to better understand systemic issues in Texas county jails and identify solutions before the next legislative session. We will continue to update you on the work that four impressive law students will be doing as it further develops.

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