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pregant woman count in Texas jails
Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

Each month Texas county jails tally the number of pregnant inmates and report that to the Jail Commission. Some are only held there a few days, but others may be incarcerated for weeks and months and a number will deliver their babies in local hospitals while in custody. Read More

Harris County Jail: A Nutritional Survey of Pregnant Incarcerated People

Earlier this year, a 22 year old graduate student named Kristina Sadler, working on her Masters in Social Work at the University of Houston, found herself thinking about the plight of pregnant inmates in the county jails of Texas. Not prisons, but county jails where a majority of the population is pre-trial detainees. In particular, most women detainees are in there for minor misdemeanors related to poverty, substance abuse/possession or mental health issues. Rarely for violent crimes. Read More

Greg Cheek
RIP Greg Cheek: “One of Us”

"Miss and love ya! Greg was a good friend, a loving father, a talented surfer, painter, and had a heart of gold. My husband battled mental health issues and as we all know Texas cut the budget for mental health a huge amount." Read More

RIP Amy Lynn Cowling, 1977–2010

In 2010, Amy Lynn Cowling was 33 when she was brought to the Gregg County Jail after a traffic stop revealed two out-of-county misdemeanor theft warrants and some unpaid tickets. She died in a separation cell on Dec. 28, the fifth day after her Christmas Eve arrest. Read More

Pregnant in Nacogdoches County Jail

In 2013, four years after our work passing the first law protecting pregnant people in jails, 33 year old Alice* who was pregnant for the first time was arrested and caged pretrial. In 2018, her story was featured along with our work in Season 2, Episodes 7 and 8 of the podcast Read More

Nathan King’s Mother Remembers Her Loving Son

Nathan King was a father of three, a man in good health, proud of his African American and Native American heritage and strong family. He died in the Polk County Jail in July, 2015. He was 37 years old, healthy, and had tested negative for tuberculosis upon arrival. His death, however, was ruled a result of pulmonary tuberculosis. Read More

Illustration of woman in jail
Expecting Care: The shameful truth about how pregnant women are treated in Texas county jails

Nicole Guerrero had been awake all night, writhing and moaning in pain from the baby that would soon be born, when she heard the unmistakable sounds of breakfast in jail. It was around 5 a.m. at the Wichita County Jail and she could hear guards and inmates clattering trays and making small talk. At this point, she had been in pain for almost 12 hours, and despite her cries for help, the jail staff didn’t seem alarmed. Alone in a medical cell, Guerrero knew she couldn’t wait any longer to start pushing. She loosened the Velcro of her one-piece jumpsuit, soaked with blood, and reached down and felt the head of her baby. Read More

brendacaldwell – Version 2
A Caldwell County Mother Remembers

When Brenda Martin recalls how her only child's life came to an end at the age of 37, she knows there was not one isolated event that caused his early demise. But she’s convinced that although he didn’t die in custody, the 73 days he spent pretrial in Caldwell County jail directly contributed to his death. Read More

Hands on bars
Widespread abuse of pregnant inmates

Judging pregnant women is easy to do, especially when they’re in jail. The way some people talk, you'd think that these women set out to a. get pregnant and b. get themselves thrown in jail. Worse still, some officers and officials go on to dismiss any incarcerated woman as immoral, irresponsible, and unconcerned about her baby. Consequently, when she complains about a lack of food, water, and vitamins, or a lack of medical care, everything she says can be dismissed as a lie. But you already knew that all inmates lie, right? In a new, in-depth investigatory series from RH Reality Check, we hear an LVN answer a staffer reporting a pregnant woman in extreme distress by saying, “You can go eyeball her and call me back if you want. She’s probably full of shit.” After an agonizing amount of neglect and trauma, that woman’s twin babies died. Read More

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