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Posts Tagged ‘ mental illness ’

TJP director speaks at County Affairs hearing

Mar 17th, 2014

Rep. Garnet Coleman, chair of the House Committee on County Affairs, exchanged comments with Texas Jail Project’s director in Livingston last week, during a hearing on county jails and government. Director Diana Claitor described the hundreds of complaints from families about the lack of psychiatric meds; she said the Texas Commission on Jail Standards doesn’t hold the jails accountable when they fail to provide necessary meds to mentally ill people. “Texas Jail Project staff recently obtained the Commission’s Notices of Non-compliance for the past three years through 2013. Of the 169 jails found not in compliance with standards, only one was cited for failure to dispense medication,” said Claitor.



Harris County Jail: lack of meds

Jul 23rd, 2013

A wife reports serious neglect: “My husband is in the Harris County jail right now and they lowered the dosage of a psych med for PTSD, if they give it to him at all. He also has a severe calcium deficiency and no one bothers to give him the calcium packets anymore after he was moved



Women in local jails & mental disorders

Jul 20th, 2013

I remember a female warden of a Texas county jail telling me how much more difficult–”moody and emotional” –women were and that she’d rather deal with male inmates any day. She might consider this study by the Center for Gender and Justice that shows a huge percentage–75%–of the women in county jails having mental disorders.



2013 Legislature: No Study of Solitary?

May 15th, 2013

County jails were kicked out of this bill due to opposition from the Texas Sheriffs Association and the Texas Association of Counties. Representatives Marquez and Guillen still have hopes for their bills, which would study the use of ad seg in the prisons and juvenile lockups, but even that is looking doubtful.
Within this well-written article by TT editor Brandi Grissom, TJP director Diana Claitor comments on the county sheriffs’ opposition:
“It’s a pitiful state of affairs when we’re all so concerned about the ever-increasing number of mentally ill in jails and we are not willing to at least try to look at some alternative solutions…”
[My apology for using the term “the mentally ill.” It should be “inmates with mental illness.” D. Claitor]



Why Not Look at County Jails Too?

Apr 20th, 2013

Can you call a Texas Senator’s office and voice your opinion? There is a good bill, Senate Bill 1003, that calls for a “review” or examination of how prisons and county jails use solitary confinement, especially on mentally ill inmates. The Sheriffs Association of Texas rode into the Senate hearing and demanded that they take out county jails–despite the fact that increasing numbers of mentally ill inmates are held for long periods in county jails. The sheriffs seem to be against this study by an outside expert simply because it would mean answering questions. But Senator Carona, author of SB 1003, is listening to the sheriffs and may remove county jails.
Please contact Senator Carona’s office to voice your opinion: do county jails need to stay in SB 1003?
Call the Austin office at 512 463-0116 or the Dallas office at (214) 378-5751 and let them know, please!



Combat Veterans Get Special Treatment They Deserve

Jan 21st, 2013

“Given that combat veterans’ PTSD issues often manifest in aggressive behavior, it flies in the face of reason not to take violent cases,” said Isabel Apkarian, a former assistant public defender in Orange County. “I don’t know how you have a veterans court without taking those clients.”
So Instead of spending two years in jail, a Marine in an Orange County court gets sentenced to therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, to counseling for substance abuse and then, to college–special treatment that he would not get in many Texas counties which do not have veterans courts for felons. Or any veterans court at all. Texas Jail Project knows of veterans sitting in jail cells across this state, because their counties don’t ensure timely trials and treatment, let alone create a veterans court. Read here about a different way to help combat veterans charged with criminal acts.



Suicide: Family Blames Nueces County Jail

Sep 10th, 2012

“The defendants completely ignored the serious medical and mental health needs of Mr. Salazar during his detention at the Nueces County Jail,” the lawsuit reads.
This statement probably applies to many suicides, according to information and reports gathered by Texas Jail Project.



Numbers of Women In Jails and Prisons

Feb 9th, 2012

Journalist Leonard Sipes Jr. cites revealing numbers about women inmates in Texas jails, in his report about incarcerated women.”In Texas, women were more likely than men to be clinically depressed, to have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and to be diagnosed with lung disease and sexually transmitted diseases. “



Adan Castaneda Comes Home from Iraq – To Jail

Dec 20th, 2011

Iraqi veteran Adan Castaneda sat in the Comal County Jail in an isolation or ad seg cell for more than six months without any treatment for his mental illness. There is no way to know how that affected his condition; however, he has been moved and is receiving treatment finally, after his family’s persistent efforts and with the assistance of generous attorneys. See the San Antonio Current story about him here. . .



Letter from Lawmakers Asks for Crack Down on Houston Jail

Nov 4th, 2011

Houston Sheriff Garcia and other Harris County officials showed up at the quarterly meeting of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in early November to ask for more than 700 variance beds– beds that allow them to keep more inmates because of special needs and circumstances. Problem is, this situation has been going on for years. Tina Tran, chief of staff for Senator Rodney Ellis, read a letter from the Senator and Representative Garnet Coleman. Read that letter and another from the renowned criminal justice expert Michele Deitch explore the issue of the state granting variances to the Harris County Jail. More importantly, both letters demanded that the Jail Commission stop the practice now. But on Thursday, TCJS commissioners voted to once more grant those beds to Harris County for another 6 months. Read the letters below.