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Posts Tagged ‘ conditions in county jails ’

A Caldwell County Mother Remembers

Aug 3rd, 2015

When Brenda Martin recalls how her only child’s life came to an end at the age of 37, she knows there was not one isolated event that caused his early demise. But she’s convinced that although he didn’t die in custody, the 73 days he spent in Caldwell County jail directly contributed to his death.



Widespread abuse of pregnant inmates

Aug 1st, 2015
Hands on bars

At Texas Jail Project, we’ve always been disheartened by jail staff and officials who automatically assume that all complaints coming from a pregnant woman—or from any prisoner for that matter—are lies. As the authors of this interesting series state: "This notion—that prisoners, and especially women prisoners, are liars—permeates the dozens of cases we reviewed where prisoners suffered miscarriages, still-births, and even deaths."

They take a clear-eyed look at this negative attitude that shapes so much of the treatment of women. The stories are moving, the research solid, and their reporting reveals previously unknown forms of abuse, such as the Chicago jail’s practice of forcing women who are close to term to have induced labor.

In the course of their five-month investigation, RH Reality Check authors spoke with TJP’s director several times, and we are pleased to see their references to Texas Jail Project’s efforts on behalf of Texas women.



A New Look at Jails and Prisons

May 28th, 2015

Check out this short and entertaining animated film about the differences between county jails and prisons. Texas Jail Project finds that because many people, including lawmakers, church leaders, and advocates, don’t understand the distinctly different functions and populations , they fail to ask the right questions or make informed decisions. Thus, writer Maurice Chammah (from Texas) and the Marshall Project created this film to explain how local lockups differ from state and federal facilities.



19th Century Harris County Jail: shouting to be heard

Jan 10th, 2015

Finally! Houston Chronicle reporter James Pinkerton brings attention to an often overlooked subject that is so important to prisoners and their families: visitation at the Baker Street jail. Texas Jail Project has long wanted to shine a light on what one older father called 19th century conditions when he came to visit his son week after week, and couldn’t hear anything he said.
This excerpt is from our interview (see Inmate Stories) of an observant woman held 13 months there: “At Harris County Jail, the visitation rooms do not provide telephones; they have plexiglass windows with holes in them through which inmates and visitors have to shout at one another to be heard. It is extremely stressful to receive a visitor because it is so difficult to hear anything over all the shouting that is going on [around you]. I finally worked out a system with my uncles, who came to see me regularly, to bring paper and pen and we communicated by writing messages to one another, instead of trying to yell through the plexiglass…. Thus, even visitation was an unpleasant and stressful event ….” Despite her loneliness and despair during her long pretrial detention, when she saw how hard visitation was on family members, she told them to stop coming.



A Texas Vet and His Demons

Dec 15th, 2014

The Marshall Project has published Maurice Chammah’s new story about Marine veteran Adan Castañeda with the subtitle, “Does he belong in a prison or a hospital?” Looking at his history of mental illness and trauma, it seems obvious that the 28-year-old former scout sniper needs psychiatric care in a hospital. But when he goes on trial, he could receive a long sentence in TDCJ, despite the fact that he did not injure anyone when he shot up his parents’ house. During the more than three years he’s been held pretrial in the Comal County Jail, he has deteriorated. His mother reports that Castañeda no longer always remembers his service, and he often expresses fear and paranoia. While she believes her son can be well again, she doubts that outcome is possible in a prison setting.



Texas Jail Project’s House Concert is almost here! Thurs. Nov. 13th

Oct 3rd, 2014

Please join us for an evening of food, drinks, fun, and the music of Gina Chavez! And we have Sarah Eckhardt, now our new Travis County Judge, speaking about conditions in county jails and the importance of TJP’s work—all at the lovely historic home of Ginny Agnew and Chuck Herring, known for progressive leadership, poetry, politics, and great parties.
Thursday, November 13th, 7 pm to 10 pm
1204 Castle Hill Street, in Clarksville, Austin
Continue to the next page for reasons why it’s important to buy a ticket and a link to the page where you can buy them!



“Lucky dogs” freeze in Eastland County

Jul 27th, 2014

Diane Wilson, co-founder of Texas Jail Project, has described the misery of being numb with cold and wrapping her arms with toilet paper…but people think anybody with air conditioning is a “lucky dog.” Now, listen to the current “conditioning” in the Eastland County Jail: “They have the AC set as low as it will go, they say they will have it ‘fixed’ but do nothing. the inmates are freezing, teeth chattering, their bunks are like ice and the inmates tried to cover the vent and the officers removed the covering …” And she reports that if family members complain, the officers take it out on the inmates.



Wilco family got jail info from TJP’s site

Mar 25th, 2014

Williamson County family says that TJP’s website is gold! Thank you so much for all of this information.  I truly appreciate the work put into making this webpage available.  My husband is currently in Williamson County TX Jail and I was so unsure of many things.  I was able to get the answers to 95% of



We ask San Antonio: how is the jail now?

Jan 10th, 2014

To BEXAR COUNTY families:

Bexar County’s sheriff is now Susan Pamerleau and she has said, “I pledge to the citizens of Bexar County to make public safety my number one priority, with a strong foundation of stewardship of taxpayer dollars; improvements in jail operations; and family violence prevention initiatives.”

Please email us at help@texasjailproject.org to report all experiences with the jail in the past year. Texas Jail Project also wants to know about diversion programs in Bexar County–how well are they serving the people of San Antonio?



Sheriff and County Judge Oppress Panhandle Women

Nov 18th, 2013

Former Swisher County Sheriff Benavidez has been charged with official oppression–as a public servent, he intentionally subjected another person to mistreatment. Or in this case two people. Both his victims have had to file a lawsuit, because they were punished for reporting the assaults and lost benefiits and pay, after county judge Harold Keeter actually refused to press charges. Both women were humiiated and sexually assaulted; the good news is that the second woman had her cell phone camera on during the whole nasty incident!