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Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas

Aug 22nd, 2016 | By | Category: Pretrial Detention

Jailhousestories.org, a collection of stories from families and individuals across Texas, has been made possible by a generous grant from Public Welfare Foundation.

In  their own words, people across Texas describe the often-devastating impact of incarceration in local jails on any given day. 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.

In the average county jail in Texas, more than 70% of the people are not yet convicted. Problems include poor medical care, untreated mental illness, overuse of solitary for those with mental disorders, inhumane jail conditions, lack of care during pregnancy, overly long pretrial incarceration and the damage to families, livelihoods and communities.

In a video on the Jailhouse Stories site, the father of 18-year-old Victoria Gray speaks to the Senate Criminal Justice committee about his daughter’s suicide.

“Heard a lot about forms here, and my daughter’s intake form actually had the checkmark that said suicidal. Four days later she was able to leave that jail dead,” said John Gray III. “There was absolutely no doubt that Brazoria County [knew] my daughter was suicidal.”

“We believe that the power of Jailhouse Stories will challenge the complacency many have about the incarceration of people who, through lack of money or failures of the justice system, are needlessly held in jail while awaiting disposition of their cases,” says Diana Claitor, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Jail Project.

More accounts are being collected and anyone who wishes to tell their story about pretrial detention in a county jail are invited to write or use the Share-a-Story form on the website.

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2 Comments to “Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas”

  1. Marsha says:

    As an advocate for TDCJ and Comal County inmates, I am shocked and appalled by the conditions and inefficiency in the Texas Judicial System. The general public is clueless to the inhuman treatment to incarcerated people in Texas. Mental health is ignored. Complacency is astounding and unacceptable. A friend has been in Comal County jail since September 2016 awaiting trial. His attorney states his charges may be dismissed. Court date has been reset multiple times. Is it true that the court appointed attorney is paid $300.00 each time the court date is reset? Seems like there is no incentive to proceed in a timely manner. I also see that justice is not primary goal. Winning the case and extreme punishment is victory for the DA. If a county inmate’s charges are dismissed after he has spent at least a year and a half in jail, what compensation is he awarded? He has lost his job, house, self worth, Family etc.
    conclusion: The guilty rich person is treated much differently than the indigent innocent person
    Thank you for you program and listening to my frustrations.

  2. Mike Booth says:

    I have just learned that a friend who was in custody at an unknown Texas Prison died. I don’t know when this occurred and I don’t know which prison he was assigned to. I am attempting to locate his grave. His name is James Wiley and he was born around 1945. Do you have any suggestion as to where to look or whom to contact?

    Thank You for your assistance.

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