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TJP Details the Misery in TX Jails for National & State News

Feb 22nd, 2021

Krish Gundu, executive director, spoke to reporters and writers from all over the nation during the winter storm emergency this past week. The Washington Post quoted the calls Texas Jail Project recorded from people in Galveston, Smith, Polk, Victoria and Bowie counties. Incarcerated people, including many who have not been convicted of a crime, reported to the nonprofit that jails lacked blankets and left inmates in freezing conditions NBC news spoke on the phone to a Texas Jail Project contact in the Victoria County Jail and quoted Gundu addressing how our county jails failed to depopulate at the beginning of the pandemic.

Stop the Suicides: Monitor Jails Properly

Feb 12th, 2021

Before he killed himself in his solitary cell the Red River County jail in May of 2019, Christopher Cabler wrote a note that said, “I couldn’t be alone anymore—I’m tired of them telling me to do it that’s all they ever say do it do it do it so f*** I’ll do it! All I wanted was to be able to talk to somebody.”

Central Texas Jails: Full Up at the Worst Possible Time

Feb 2nd, 2021

Instead of finding ways to lower populations in their county jails, central Texas judicial systems and district attorneys appear to be frozen, resulting in packed jails. In this story from Waco’s KWTX news, TJP’s communications director speaks about some of the issues involved—and how dangerous it is for prisoners held pretrial during the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Kevin Garrett at Texas Jail Project

Jan 29th, 2021

Having experienced homelessness and incarceration, Kevin Garrett put himself through college and law school, and in 2018, received a Hogg Foundation fellowship to work at our small nonprofit in Austin. His role as peer policy fellow changed his trajectory while helping transform Texas Jail Project into a more versatile and inclusive organization. Kevin described challenges for families dealing with substance abuse disorder from the perspective of

Smith Co Jail Prisoners’ Thank-You Note

Jan 29th, 2021

Please notice how this handwritten thank you note on the next page says it comes from “PEOPLE who are inmates. “Hello Mrs. Dalila Reynoso: You make a difference in the lives of people who are inmates at Smith County Jail…..

TJP Points to the COVID-Jail-Community Connection

Jan 12th, 2021

This CNN story highlights the tragic death of Raul Rodriguez due to COVID-19. TX Jail Project has publicized his family’s outcry about not being notified of his illness. Also, TJP executive director Krish Gundu speaks about the spread of COVID from jails to communities and how “staff …coming in and out facilities and then mingling with their home communities, have been “super vectors” for the virus,” said Gundu.

2020: Resilience, Action & Possibilities!

Jan 11th, 2021

In 2020 we rose to the challenge – taking on the colliding pandemics of COVID-19 and inhumane jailing, while undergoing our own internal transformation. We’re proud to have taken on big fights in our pursuit of depopulating county jails and demonstrating community based alternatives to incarceration. Texas county jails were the frontlines for this year’s crisis, foregrounding systemic inequities and corruption, from rural county jails with unreported outbreaks to metropolitan superspreader facilities. And we didn’t back down.

Vague Jail Standards Have Real-life Consequences

Jan 10th, 2021
People in jail

In his excellent piece in the Houston Chronicle, reporter St. John Barnard-Smith quotes TJP’s communications director regarding standards (regulations) for jails. “Vague standards have real-life consequences,” said Texas Jail Project co-founder Diana Claitor, pointing to medical standards that permitted jails to use virtually any medical professional, including those with extremely limited training or expertise, as a facility’s chief medical official.

“Texas Disguising Jail Deaths” story in Prison Legal News

Dec 21st, 2020

by Diana Claitor, TX Jail Project communications director.

In 2012, a 53-year-old Black woman named Edwinta Deckard was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and held in the Nacogdoches County Jail where she died after three days. Her death was an ordeal of dehydration and trauma, as repeated bouts of diarrhea were ignored by jail staff, and her condition spiraled downward. Cellmates begged jailers to get her medical help, and toward the end they witnessed jailers manhandle her as she lay unconscious.

The awful details of her rough treatment came out when two of the jailers were indicted for criminally negligent homicide, and a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit was filed. However, charges against the jailers were mysteriously dropped when Visiting Judge Guy Griffin signed an order to quash the indictments against the two jailers, and a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.

Since this was a death in custody, or DIC, Deckard’s death was required by law to be reported to the state, and as such, the details and summary would be officially recorded.

However, that didn’t happen. There’s no record of her death in the custodial death database at the office of the Texas Attorney General (AG). Thus, neither the jail, the county sheriff, nor Nacogdoches County was held accountable. Not reporting a death in custody is a violation of a statute and could have resulted in the sheriff being charged with a class C misdemeanor, but by the time I discovered that Deckard’s death had never been reported, the violation was past the two-year statute of limitations.

Fighting for Justice During the Pandemic

Dec 18th, 2020

Why did Smith County incarcerate Robert Paquin for most of 2020? Texas Jail Project uncovered a multitude of reasons that didn’t make sense, and we took action.  Robert Joshua Paquin turned 19 in the Smith County Jail this year. Despite his medical history, Robert would be on his way to prison now, if it wasn’t for