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TJP’s Covid-19 response work featured on Houston Public Media

Jun 19th, 2020

Recordings and letters provided by Texas Jail Project provide a glimpse into the jails as COVID-19 continues to spread across Texas. Krish Gundu, coordinator and co-founder of TJP, spoke to Houston Public Media, describing conditions: “…folks in jails have no ability at all to physically distance themselves from one another,” Gundu said. “And they don’t have the kind of access to medical care that you and I have. So the jails are already a public health crisis, but now we’re seeing, now it’s sharply in focus, as to how much of a crisis it is.”



COVID-19 in Jails: Urgent Medical Response Needed

Mar 18th, 2020

Doctors and advocates are considering how COVID-19 will create a dangerous public health crisis in our county jails that will affect the communities around those jails as well. Marc Robinson, MD and Co-President for Doctors for Change and Krish Gundu, Co-Founder, Texas Jail Project, suggest proactive steps to slow the intake of new people into the jails as well as some commonsense measures to protect both the incarcerated and the staff inside. “Speaking as a physician,” says Robinson, “we need bold, urgent measures to reduce the risk of jails becoming vectors for the spread of COVID-19. These may be difficult to do within our current jail infrastructure, but are necessary to protect our patients and communities.”



Hundreds of mentally ill people sit in Texas jails waiting for hospital treatment

Feb 22nd, 2020
KVUE's Brad Streicher interviews Diana Claitor

“I think the waitlist is very much a threat to the health and safety of the person and to their family and loved ones and their children,” Executive Director of Texas Jail Project Diana Claitor said. “It affects everyone. There needs to be more hospitals and there needs to be more funding and more local facilities too.”



Who in the World is in Favor of Cash Bail?

Nov 28th, 2019

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, Aug. 25, 2017
Pretty much everyone who spends any time examining the American system of secured cash bail comes away with the same conclusion: It’s unjust, expensive and ineffective, even counterproductive. People charged with crimes — all of whom are presumed innocent — get locked up for days, weeks or months not because they pose a risk of fleeing or endangering the public but simply because they’re too poor to buy their freedom.



We Support Small Bills That Make a Difference!

Jul 8th, 2019

By Diana Claitor, Executive Director (Austin American Statesman, July 7, 2019)

Gov. Abbott signed HB 1651 last month. It’s a small bill that won’t make headlines, but it will have a large effect on the health of more than 4,000 pregnant women incarcerated in Texas county jails each year. Not to mention the health of their unborn offspring. 

Texas Jail Project, an Austin nonprofit that works to improve conditions in Texas’ 241 county jails, presented information and stories to legislators during the session. About veterans needing mental health care, jailer training, PR bonds, and collection of demographic data on inmates. However, much of our work focused on the unique vulnerability of pregnant inmates.



Making Jails Safer: TJP at the 86th Session!

Feb 18th, 2019

With our small staff at Texas Jail Project, it’s not easy, but we are working hard to support several house bills for the current 86th legislative session—on subjects ranging from care of pregnant women to training of correctional officers to the oversight of the Texas Jail Commission! Rep. Celia Israel filed HB 1601, Rep. James White filed HB 1553, and Rep. Mary González filed HB 1651.
Now ANNIE’S LIST has tweeted a big national shout out to Rep. González: @RepMaryGonzalez’s HB 1651 would require the Commission on Jail Standards to adopt reasonable rules and procedures re: the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners. #txlege
Read on for more bills that will affect the treatment of the 1,000,000 people booked into county jails each year in Texas. (Photo is of Rep. Mary González)



The Jail Commission’s Report Cards

Nov 9th, 2018

by Kevin Garrett, November 6, 2018
Our county jails are supposed to be holding people in safe and healthy conditions, but that’s not the case. In my experience, I often felt as if guards were more concerned with how clean the pod was rather than if an inmate was seriously ill and needed help.
The main oversight of jails actually has little to do with health care, however. And there are only five inspectors from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards tasked with inspecting the 241 county jails spread over 268, 000 square miles. Violations cover a wide range, from a lack of hot water to no documentation of suicide prevention training for staff. 



We are answering more critical calls and we need your help ….please!

Sep 28th, 2018

Our months of advocacy resulted in a Texas family’s loved one being moved to a psychiatric hospital after 7 months in an isolation cell. Her sister (left) met with TJP’s director in person for the first time this month. Wendolyn Lacy says,
“I am speechless—WE ARE SO GRATEFUL. We understand we can say thanks all day, but donations are what you guys need to keep y’all going and help folks like my sister.”

Please donate today! New: Donate in the name of a loved one or a person who values justice for all. We will place his/her name in the new “Texas Jail Project Honor Roll” on our front page.



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.



Texas Jail Project is proud to announce that the Hogg Foundation is funding a two-year Peer Policy Fellowship at TJP!

May 11th, 2018

Great news for our advocacy for people experiencing mental illness/substance abuse issues and involved in the criminal justice system! The Hogg Foundation is funding a position for “a Peer Policy Fellow who brings direct experience into the conversations about mental health, addiction, and criminal justice reform.” The mentor will be the renowned Dr. Lynda Frost, formerly associate director of the Hogg Foundation. With this position, our work and the lived experience of a peer policy fellow will advance important issues and increase awareness of stakeholders and the public.
Over the past 8 years, more than 75% of the emails and calls to our group have been complaints and cries for help regarding people experiencing mental illness while incarcerated in county jails. That category often includes pregnant women, veterans and people who are also ill with physical illnesses or disabilities. While some jail staff are trained in how to treat people living with mental illness, many officers are not and the rapid turnover in jail staff doesn’t help.