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Waller County Needs to Replace Outdated Jail

Apr 27th, 2017 | By

The Houston Chronicle continues its ongoing coverage of problems in county jails that can and do affect thousands of Texans who are held in them before ever being “convicted criminals.” In this new story about Waller Jail, where Sandra Bland died, we see some of the many reasons a jail is classified as substandard. TJP’s director is quoted, saying,
“An updated facility would allow for better supervision and use of staff, but county commissioners often reject building new jails,” said Diana Claitor of the Texas Jail Project. “The public can also push back against funding such projects, not grasping how essential they are to the health of the community.”

“It’s easily put at the bottom of the list of what the county needs, and it should be at the top,” she said.

Travis County pretrial release system

Apr 26th, 2017 | By

One reason Texas has so many people held pretrial in county jails— resulting in high numbers of deaths due to medical neglect and suicide—is that out of 254 counties, only 5 use risk assessment tools that give the county a good way to release people without cash bond. …

Turns out “Travis County’s risk-informed pretrial release system removes poverty as an impediment to release, creating a fairer system for defendants,” and at the same time, saves the county money and results in fewer future problems for defendants.

TX legislature: Speaking about a jail experience

Mar 29th, 2017 | By

Cat speaking before the House committee on Criminal Jurisprudence

Help us help Texans today and every day

Mar 1st, 2017 | By

The King, Bogany and Wills families, with historic roots in Polk County, all lost their sons in the Polk County criminal justice system. We were honored that they stopped by our office to express appreciation for the encouragement and information Texas Jail Project has given them.
They hope you will encourage us too, by donating to TJP, by check or Pay Pal. (See our donate button on this page) Continue on, to read the first hand accounts of the King family that are part of our Jailhouse Stories collection.

New report highlights mental health issues in Texas jails

Feb 7th, 2017 | By

by Reagan Ritterbush, February 1, 2017, The Daily Texan In 2010, Amy Lynn Cowling, a 33-year-old mother, was arrested for an outstanding misdemeanors warrant. Upon arriving at the nearest jail, Cowling had to replace her normal medications with substitutes because her original medications were banned by the Texas jail system.  While withdrawing from the drugs,

Non-Compliant Jails – TJCS Reports

Dec 18th, 2016 | By

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) has four inspectors who conduct at least one inspection a year of the 245 county jails—to monitor whether they are in compliance with the Texas Minimum Jail Standards.* When jails are found to be out of compliance, the commission files a report which is used as the basis for inquiry at the quarterly hearings–attended by the Sheriffs–of the TCJS in Austin.
These reports are also available on the TCJS website but only until the jail gets back in compliance; then they are removed and the public cannot see, for example, if their jail was out of compliance last year and the reasons. Read on to see the 10 jails now out of compliance!

Inmates Die at a Faster Rate in Harris County Jail

Nov 10th, 2016 | By

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards was tougher with Harris County Jail and their overcrowding issues at last week’s meeting. Probably because they’ve been getting “variances” since 2005. Variances: TEMPORARY exceptions to the regulations as in allowing Harris County to house people in a cell by adding “low riders” or other temporary beds.
While HCSO jail has to hold people who are not given bail or are assigned an unaffordably high bond, they are bound by law to ensure that those people are held safely and humanely. Not happening. We hope that the new sheriff, DA and judges will work together to stop the terrible dealths of people like Tamara Moe’s brother who die there while awaiting trial. Read on for a great Huffington Post piece.

Texas Justice Initiative: 7,000 Deaths in Custody

Oct 28th, 2016 | By

The new well-designed website by Amanda Woog clarifies the way people die in custody in Texas, whether the person was held by police, by a local jail, or in a state prison. The first ever website of this kind points out the racial disparities as well as the high number of deaths of people unconvicted and uncharged. National attention to deaths in custody has been rising but most of all, the tragic death of Sandra Bland in Texas is shaking up public perceptions.
This Atlantic Magazine article praises TJI, pointing out that “Texas reflects a markedly high number of deaths in custody compared to national trends. The increased attention to suspicious cases such as Bland’s—which some see as representative of a deadly trend in over-policing of black citizens—magnifies the importance of this kind of tool, which allows anyone to study and analyze the data.”

If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial …

Oct 27th, 2016 | By

There is a legal filing to make sure a person found incompetent is hospitalized or removed from the jail. If your loved one has been found incompetent to stand trial due to mental disability but has continued to be held in jail without treatment, the person’s lawyer can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the court that requires the county to provide him/her with appropriate medical care—in other words, send them to a hospital. Once the court grants the Writ, the Sheriff must comply. Go to next page for the Writ, which you can download.

Kandace in the Jefferson County Jail

Sep 29th, 2016 | By

Jarvis Cooper emailed the Texas Jail Project a message with the subject line “please help” on July 11th. He was reaching out for his partner, Kandace Washington, a 22-year-old woman more than six months pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy, incarcerated in the county jail in Beaumont. Before she was arrested on a nonviolent charge, she had been regularly seeing doctors at the University of Texas Medical Branch and doing her best to stay healthy.
“When I was booked in, I told them my UTMB doctor explained the high risk pregnancy,” said Kandace. “But I don’t know if they ever got [my medical records] at the jail.”