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In The News

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!

Family questioning quality of medical care after Harris County inmate dies in custody

Jul 24th, 2019
Tressia Dennis

Our heart goes out to this family who was expecting their father to come home from Harris County Jail. Glad they have an experienced attorney like Randall Kallinen representing them.

BCSO: An inmate was found dead Thursday morning in county jail

Jul 20th, 2019
Bexas County Sheriff's Office

The number of reported deaths in Texas county jails in 2019 alone is 36. (This is not including the three recent deaths that Texas Jail Project has heard of directly from family members.) Jails have 30 days to report custody deaths to the office of the Attorney General. Failure to report is a Class B misdemeanor. Compare the number of jail deaths in a mere 6 months, to the number of executions carried out in Texas in the past 3 years (not including 2019) - 37.

Arrested corrections officer said he ‘didn’t care’ about checking on inmates, affidavit says

Jul 16th, 2019
Barbed wire on top of a cement wall

A Travis County jailer falsified records. Not good, but what's encouraging is that the jail supervisor went through video footage to see if he was really checking on people like he logged in the records and discovered he wasn't. Then they held him accountable.

Economic decline, incarceration, and mortality from drug use disorders in the USA between 1983 and 2014: an observational analysis

Jul 15th, 2019
Schematic diagram of potential interactions between socioeconomic factors, incarceration, and drug-related mortality

New Lancet study states - Counties with increased incarceration have increased fatal overdose rates and highlights a largely neglected dimension of the US criminal justice system - local jails!

Hot off the press: an open access study published in The Lancet investigating the associations between economic decline, incarceration rates, and age-standardized mortality from drug use disorders at the county level in the U.S.

Company operating Bi-State jail found out of compliance after March inmate death

Jul 15th, 2019
Franklin Greathouse and Michael Rodden

Another jail (for-profit one!) with a pattern of negligence leading to preventable deaths. "After reviewing video evidence in conjunction with self-reporting by facility administration, it was determined that eight, 60-minute, face-to-face observations, prior to the inmate being discovered, did not occur, even though the rounds were documented at least every 60 minutes on the observation logs," the April Jail Commission inspection report states.

Sudden death behind bars

Jul 13th, 2019
Exterior wall of Travis County Jail

They should’ve said, “This man keeps falling. Let’s check his blood levels, let’s see what’s going on. Let’s take him off these meds, let’s do something.” Instead, they just said, “Oh, he’s fine.”

Private jail firm employs former Texas Ranger. Will Rangers investigate deaths in those jails?

Jan 17th, 2019
Two guards restraining a man

For years, private jails in Texas run by LaSalle Corrections have been plagued by complaints of lax training and abuse. In-jail deaths at their facilities across the state have resulted in multiple lawsuits for wrongful deaths and negligence.

Could this baby’s death have been prevented?

Jul 20th, 2018
Child's memorial with flowers

In this new story from WFAA, top notch reporting reveals what happened to Shaye Bear as well as poor medical care for many pregnant inmates in Texas county jails. Tanya Eiserer and her team also expose punitive attitudes and blatant lies by Ellis County. The work of Texas Jail Project and observations from TJP’s director Diana Claitor provide context. Claitor commented that one serious problem is that many officers’ first reaction to an inmate’s complaints is that anything she says is a lie. But if the case of a pregnant inmate, another life is at stake if the jailer’s wrong, she said.

“They’re not always lying,” she said, referring to pregnant women.

Claitor says she’s received at least three complaints about the Ellis County jail – all of them involving pregnant inmates. Eiserer goes on to discuss how many women suffer in jails without any accountability.