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In The News

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

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!

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.