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In The News

CRIMEWATCH: Mental Health and Jails

Aug 24th, 2019
Fox News 7 interview with Texas Jail Project Executive Director Diana Claitor

An increasing number of the people held in our county jails are people living with mental illness or disabilities. Fox News 7 interviews Texas Jail Project Executive Director Diana Claitor about her thoughts on the problem.



DEATH WITHOUT CONVICTION: Negligence caused prisoner’s death, suit alleges

Aug 23rd, 2019
Rhonda Newsome

Continuing investigation by Palestine Herald into the custody death of 50 year old Rhonda Newsome.



Bexar Becomes First Texas County to Supply Anti-Overdose Medication to People Released from Jail

Aug 22nd, 2019
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar speaks during a press conference.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office will provide every newly released county jail inmate with medication designed to reverse potential opioid overdoses, according to a Texas Public Radio report. That makes Bexar the first Texas county to equip former prisoners with Narcan, a nasal spray that if applied quickly enough can nullify the effects of an



Responding to jail deaths: Initial steps

Aug 21st, 2019
Empty jail cell

"Jail administrators and correctional officers have an obligation to do everything they can to prevent in-custody deaths." Excellent recommendations in this important piece published by Correctionsone.com about how to respond to deaths in jails: (1) Treat the death like a crime scene; (2) Preserve all digital evidence and (3) Launch an administrative review in addition to a criminal investigation.



Staff recruiting starts for Harwell jail ahead of county takeover

Aug 21st, 2019
Jailer academy training class

Finally, after years of Texas Jail Project and community advocates pushing the McLennan county commissioners and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to hold LaSalle, the for-profit operator, accountable for all the custody deaths and medical neglect, the county has decided to end its contract and take back its jail.



Downtown jail out of compliance

Aug 17th, 2019
The Bi-State Justice Building

For the second time this year, Bowie county jail has been found out of compliance after the July 6th suicide of 48 year old Michael Rodden who was arrested only three days prior on a drug related offense. The Attorney General's Online database of custody deaths reports 15 suicides in Texas county jails and lockups (not including prisons) in 2019.



AG cites possible terrorism in withholding jail death video

Aug 13th, 2019
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

That's a first! "AG cites possible terrorism in withholding jail death video." What??



Smith County Jail population continues upward trend, surpasses 900 in July

Aug 11th, 2019
Smith County Jail exterior

Fantastic data driven story about the rise in Smith county's jail population in the Tyler Morning Telegraph with great quotes from TJP's Executive Director Diana Claitor. Erin Mansfield does an excellent job of analyzing the data over the years and asking the type of questions county commissioners and tax payers should be paying close attention to. We wish more county newspapers would look closely at their pretrial populations and push their leaders to invest in courts and community based pretrial solutions instead of bigger jails.



Jailed to death: Witness, former guard say dying father was taunted, denied medical care in for-profit lock-up

Aug 5th, 2019
Greg McElvy

Back in 2011, I published a story on the TJP website about the tragic death of a young man named Micah Aaron Garner who died in the Gregg County Jail--one in a string of deaths at that jail. (Gregg County appears to have since cleaned up its act.)

I said Micah was "jailed to death." It's ironic and sad to see the great WFAA reporter Tanya Eiserer using the same phrase in her in-depth investigation of the ghastly death of Greg McElvy in the Johnson County jail. Read this and note how the sheriff and jail staff falsely blamed the inmate for his medical emergency.



Pregnant Texas inmates poised to get relief from new legislation

Aug 1st, 2019
Orange shirt reading "County Jail"

Thanks to the bill by Rep. Mary Gonzalez that was instigated by Texas Jail Project, pregnant inmates will receive better prenatal care and not be shackled during childbirth!