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Kandace Washington

Aug 18th, 2017 | Category: TJP Newsletter

Click here for the petition at Moms Rising and sign now!

Judge Stevens: Release Kandace from Jefferson County Jail!

Kandace Washington is 22 and more than 7 months pregnant. She is currently being held Jefferson County Correctional Facility in Beaumont, Texas. Advocates report that she is not receiving exams by an ob/gyn or even regular prenatal vitamins. Delaying her release puts her life and the life of her unborn child in danger. At a bond hearing this past Monday, Judge John Stevens refused to release her on bail or on a personal recognizance bond, despite the fact that her pregnancy is high risk, she is not a flight risk, and she is pretrial—has not yet been convicted.

If Kandace were at home, she would be receiving medical care from her ob/gyn doctor at University of Texas Medical Branch, while she awaits her hearing. Instead, she is facing her high-risk pregnancy needlessly alone, anxious and without access to the care she and her unborn baby need.Join Texas Jail Project and Moms Rising to call on Judge Stevens to release Kandace Washington on bond immediately. Click on this link for the petition.

To the Honorable Judge John B. Stevens,

This letter is from moms and families in support of the release of Ms. Kandace Washington on bond is to ensure her access to appropriate prenatal care for her health and her unborn baby’s protection. With maternal mortality being the highest in Texas, we ask that you allow Ms. Washington to receive the life-saving care she and her baby needs.

She will still be required to return to court for her case proceedings — there is a well-established system in place for ensuring the return of people who are released pretrial, like those who are able to post a money bond.

We are concerned about the life of Ms. Washington and her baby. Jefferson County Correctional Facility, like many others, is not set up to provide medical care for at-risk pregnancies. In that jail’s 2016 report on pregnant inmate care, they said that the majority of their medical care is provided by a physician’s assistant. If Kandace were at home, she would be receiving medical care from her ob/gyn doctor at UTMB, while she awaits her hearing. Ms. Washington reportedly is not currently and has not been receiving exams by an ob/gyn or even regular prenatal vitamins since she was booked into jail.

As her medical records show, Ms. Washington’s pregnancy is high risk, she had a tubal pregnancy last year, and she gave birth to her only child a month early. Delaying her release puts her life and the life of her unborn child at risk. Past instances give us a troubling picture as to what can happen when women go into labor while in jail. In 2012, Nicole Guerrero was left unattended while in labor in the Wichita County Jail in Texas, begging for help. The child died after Nicole had to deliver it by herself.

Not only does Texas has the worst maternal death rate of any developed country in the world, the rate for black women dying related pregnancy is 3-4 times higher regardless of age, parity, or education. These facts are concerning and relate directly to Kandace Washington’s case. She is not now a flight risk, and she has not yet been convicted of the non-violent charge against her. We can prevent a needless tragedy in this situation by allowing Ms. Washington to access the care she needs.


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What else is going on at Texas Jail Project?

 With the help of a generous donation, we launched “Jail Reads to supply quality educational and self-help books to small and medium sized jails.
The 245 county jails in Texas are not required to have a library like state prisons are. Many of these jails only have enough funds for basic necessities and unless inmates’ families order books to be sent to them, there is little to nothing to read. And many people do not have families who can afford to order books for them, so our program is especially important for indigent inmates.
Many incarcerated people, who are not yet convicted, feel despair. Pretrial incarceration can and is much more lengthy than the public realizes—nowadays, people may await trial for months and years. Books can educate and provide hope and encourage planning for the future.
So far we have sent books to 20 jails, including Spanish-English dictionaries and books on reentry. There are more than 200 small to medium-sized rural jails.
TAKE ACTION; Help us send more books! CLICK HERE TO MAKE A ONE TIME DONATION OF $60 that will send 6 good books to a jail in a rural or low-income county. Thank you on behalf of the sons, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and daughters who are held in our county jails!

Contact Us:

Email is the fastest way to reach us: info@texasjailproject.org
You can also leave a message at: (512) 469-7665

“We have a small staff and many people contacting us, so we are not always able to get back to you immediately. Thanks for understanding.” Diana Claitor, Executive Director

Four women formed Texas Jail Project (TJP) in 2006 to call attention to inhumane conditions and lack of medical care in approximately 245 local jails that hold some 65,000 men and women on a daily basis.

TJP helps families report problems and navigate the complex criminal justice, jail, and mental health systems in Texas. We collect their stories and communicate their needs to lawmakers and media.

Our work focuses on underserverd populations in the county jails: pregnant women, people of color, people living with mental illness, veterans, and people who are indigent who are incarcerated. TJP is part of a national campaign to reform the use of unlimited pretrial detention–of people not yet convicted—and to generate interest in pretrial services and jail diversion in Texas..

Texas Jail Project regularly communicates with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS)  and monitors TCJS policieis and its reports on jails found out of compliance.

Jail Project of Texas, doing business as Texas Jail Project, is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization supported by public donations and a grant from the the Simmons Foundation of Houston.

Our bank account is low and Texas Jail Project depends on donations from the public. Please send a check for any amount to Texas Jail Project, 1712 E. Riverside, Box 190, Austin, TX 78741 or click on this DONATE BUTTON.

SPECIAL THANKS to Nadia Hussain, Maternal Justice Campaign Director at  Moms Rising, and to TJP board president Krishnaveni Gundu and volunteer Alycia Welch.

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