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Comal County

TJP’s Jailhouse Stories Go National

Feb 25th, 2015

Would you like to be a Story Gatherer for Texas Jail Project? We’re inviting you to help us collect stories in your community—or contribute your own story about a county jail in Texas. And this week we are connecting our Jailhouse Stories to Nation Inside, a national website!
Nation Inside is an online platform that supports people all over the United States who are working to challenge mass incarceration. On our front page, click on the video Jailhouse Stories Invitation in which Maria Anna describes her son’s long pretrial incarceration in the Comal County Jail and why it’s important to tell his story. You can also still email info@texasjailproject.org to tell us your story or ask questions.

Indigent defendants in Comal County first in U.S. to pick attorneys

Dec 30th, 2014

“The issue of trust has long been part of the larger discussion about the quality of indigent defense in the United States.” There’s an understatment. Texas Jail Project is certainly aware of the “issue of trust,” since hundreds of people have complained to us over the past seven years about the lack of quality work by court appointed attorneys.
“Now, Comal County in Central Texas will be the first in the country to let these individuals choose their attorneys at government expense.It’s part of a pilot program in Comal County that could determine whether the idea is adopted in other jurisdictions and provide a new way for how the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments are exercised.
Under the system, a defendant who is declared indigent will be given a list of 30 to 50 attorneys approved by the county. An individual will have a day to make a choice.”
It’s about time. Thanks to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

A Texas Vet and His Demons

Dec 15th, 2014

The Marshall Project has published Maurice Chammah’s new story about Marine veteran Adan Castañeda with the subtitle, “Does he belong in a prison or a hospital?” Looking at his history of mental illness and trauma, it seems obvious that the 28-year-old former scout sniper needs psychiatric care in a hospital. But when he goes on trial, he could receive a long sentence in TDCJ, despite the fact that he did not injure anyone when he shot up his parents’ house. During the more than three years he’s been held pretrial in the Comal County Jail, he has deteriorated. His mother reports that Castañeda no longer always remembers his service, and he often expresses fear and paranoia. While she believes her son can be well again, she doubts that outcome is possible in a prison setting.

TJP director speaks at County Affairs hearing

Mar 17th, 2014

Rep. Garnet Coleman, chair of the House Committee on County Affairs, exchanged comments with Texas Jail Project’s director in Livingston last week, during a hearing on county jails and government. Director Diana Claitor described the hundreds of complaints from families about the lack of psychiatric meds; she said the Texas Commission on Jail Standards doesn’t hold the jails accountable when they fail to provide necessary meds to mentally ill people. “Texas Jail Project staff recently obtained the Commission’s Notices of Non-compliance for the past three years through 2013. Of the 169 jails found not in compliance with standards, only one was cited for failure to dispense medication,” said Claitor.

Some Texas jails are banning books!

Feb 9th, 2014

Would you help Texas Jail Project ensure the constitutional rights of prisoners to receive and read publications? A majority of people in 245 local jails are pretrial or awaiting disposition of their cases–not even convicted–and yet in some, they are not allowed to read anything except the Bible. We need volunteers to help us conduct an a survey of jail policy, by phoning the jails. More details available if you email us at diana@texasjailrproject.org … Sheriffs and jails forbidding reading material is such a problem that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards posted a letter on their website last fall, saying, “In other words, personal preferences of jail staff should not be a basis for banning a particular publication.” (See http://www.tcjs.state.tx.us/docs/TAMemoPrisonLegalNews.pdf)

Phone Cards and Collect Calls from Jail

Jul 4th, 2012

Maria Anna, mother of Adan Casteneda, wrote this advice for people with loved ones in jail: The more your inmate stays in contact with you, the more secure she or he will feel. Letters are great, but sometimes people don’t have time to write and they take a long time to get there. Jail phone calls are expensive BUT there are ways to make the phone calls less costly.

Adan Castaneda Comes Home from Iraq – To Jail

Dec 20th, 2011

Iraqi veteran Adan Castaneda sat in the Comal County Jail in an isolation or ad seg cell for more than six months without any treatment for his mental illness. There is no way to know how that affected his condition; however, he has been moved and is receiving treatment finally, after his family’s persistent efforts and with the assistance of generous attorneys. See the San Antonio Current story about him here. . .

Visiting Comal County Jail?

Oct 21st, 2011

Friends and loved ones of inmates in Comal County Jail tell us this: 1. First of all, it helps to look at their website, and check out the visitation schedule – but sometimes they don’t  tell everything you need to know. 2. Write to your loved one and tell him to put you on their visitor list.

Comal County Jail: Reckless Disregard for Human Life

Dec 2nd, 2009

I was unfortunate enough to be held captive in the Comal County Jail (New Braunfels) for one year until August 2006 (Eleven months of that time served was an illegal detention). Their reckless disregard for human life and medical negligence caused the death of more than one inmate during my stay there, including a 68