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TJP Details the Misery in TX Jails for National & State News

Feb 22nd, 2021

Krish Gundu, executive director, spoke to reporters and writers from all over the nation during the winter storm emergency this past week. The Washington Post quoted the calls Texas Jail Project recorded from people in Galveston, Smith, Polk, Victoria and Bowie counties. Incarcerated people, including many who have not been convicted of a crime, reported to the nonprofit that jails lacked blankets and left inmates in freezing conditions NBC news spoke on the phone to a Texas Jail Project contact in the Victoria County Jail and quoted Gundu addressing how our county jails failed to depopulate at the beginning of the pandemic.



Stop the Suicides: Monitor Jails Properly

Feb 12th, 2021

Before he killed himself in his solitary cell the Red River County jail in May of 2019, Christopher Cabler wrote a note that said, “I couldn’t be alone anymore—I’m tired of them telling me to do it that’s all they ever say do it do it do it so f*** I’ll do it! All I wanted was to be able to talk to somebody.”



2020: Resilience, Action & Possibilities!

Jan 11th, 2021

In 2020 we rose to the challenge – taking on the colliding pandemics of COVID-19 and inhumane jailing, while undergoing our own internal transformation. We’re proud to have taken on big fights in our pursuit of depopulating county jails and demonstrating community based alternatives to incarceration. Texas county jails were the frontlines for this year’s crisis, foregrounding systemic inequities and corruption, from rural county jails with unreported outbreaks to metropolitan superspreader facilities. And we didn’t back down.



“Texas Disguising Jail Deaths” story in Prison Legal News

Dec 21st, 2020

by Diana Claitor, TX Jail Project communications director.

In 2012, a 53-year-old Black woman named Edwinta Deckard was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge and held in the Nacogdoches County Jail where she died after three days. Her death was an ordeal of dehydration and trauma, as repeated bouts of diarrhea were ignored by jail staff, and her condition spiraled downward. Cellmates begged jailers to get her medical help, and toward the end they witnessed jailers manhandle her as she lay unconscious.

The awful details of her rough treatment came out when two of the jailers were indicted for criminally negligent homicide, and a $30 million wrongful death lawsuit was filed. However, charges against the jailers were mysteriously dropped when Visiting Judge Guy Griffin signed an order to quash the indictments against the two jailers, and a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.

Since this was a death in custody, or DIC, Deckard’s death was required by law to be reported to the state, and as such, the details and summary would be officially recorded.

However, that didn’t happen. There’s no record of her death in the custodial death database at the office of the Texas Attorney General (AG). Thus, neither the jail, the county sheriff, nor Nacogdoches County was held accountable. Not reporting a death in custody is a violation of a statute and could have resulted in the sheriff being charged with a class C misdemeanor, but by the time I discovered that Deckard’s death had never been reported, the violation was past the two-year statute of limitations.



Saturday: A Listening Circle for our Communities!

Dec 15th, 2020

“BEARING WITNESS: A COVID-19 Listening Circle” will be this SATURDAY the 19th, from 1 to 3 pm, LIVE ON FACEBOOK. The event features letters, recordings, and intimate conversations with those recently released. Join us for any amount of time—and have a candle at hand.

This Listening Circle will be Texas Jail Project’s space to share and amplify the experiences of folks incarcerated in county jails during the pandemic, and to memorialize and honor those that have lost their lives or been affected by COVID-19.

 This event will be live streamed on Facebook at facebook.com/texasjailproject and recorded. By registering for this event, you are giving permission to Texas Jail Project to record.

We invite our community to share in our grief and bear witness with us. Our program will conclude with a tribute to the impacted, and invite participants to take action in their own communities.
PLEASE CONTINUE TO THE NEXT PAGE TO GET THE LINK TO REGISTER.



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.