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Posts Tagged ‘ suicide ’

Tarrant Finally Uses Cite and Release

Jul 8th, 2021

“When you look at what cite and release has done across the country, in terms of the amount of people you save from going to jail and the amount of money saved, it’s phenomenally successful for the most part. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to talk to a mother of someone who was arrested for criminal trespass who then kills themselves. It is beyond ridiculous that we feel this driving need to incarcerate, incarcerate, incarcerate.” Diana Claitor, co-founder and communications director for the Texas Jail Project, a nonprofit that empowers Texas county jail populations.
Texas Jail Project is in agreement with the Ft. Worth Police Department, whose press release states: “The cite and release program, if coupled with a commitment to stop over-policing Black and brown communities, could lead to a fairer application of the law for Tarrant County residents of all backgrounds.
What the cite and release program does is lessen the burdens on our officers by reducing the time spent on minor/nonviolent offenses. This allows them to get back into service more quickly, better serve our citizens, and spend more time addressing violent crime.” — Edward Brown



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.”



“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.



The First Cobos “Shining the Light” Award

Dec 10th, 2020

Texas Jail Project presented the first-ever Cobos Award, to be given annually to an individual in public service who demonstrates a commitment to the law and to the wellbeing of the community—and who does not hesitate to take action when witnessing something that is “just not right.”
The award is named for David M. Cobos, born and raised in El Paso County and a Midland justice of the peace and magistrate since 1997.
At a Zoom celebration on Friday, November 20th, TJP presented Judge Cobos with the first Cobos Award, an engraved flashlight—a symbolic reminder of how important it is to shine a light into all corners of local government and public service, to ensure health, justice and peace in Texas communities.
Our choice of Judge Cobos arose from an action he took in 2019 when he had questions about the death of Christopher DuBoise at the Midland County Hospital.



Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

Dec 1st, 2018

Each month Texas county jails tally the number of pregnant inmates and report that to the Jail Commission. Some are only held there a few days, but others may be incarcerated for weeks and months and a number will deliver their babies in local hospitals while in custody.



Fort Bend sheriff pushes back against criticism over jail suicides

Nov 30th, 2015
Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls

TJP director Diana Claitor spoke to Houston Chronicle reporter Emily Foxhall about the number of suicides in Fort Bend county’s jail. That jail in fast-growing Fort Bend currently holds 850 to 1,000 inmates on a given day.
“Of those incarcerated in county jails statewide, more than 60 percent have not been convicted yet,” said Claitor, and “if they cannot post bail, they must remain in an atmosphere that can be hostile, depressing and even threatening.” She went on to say that much of the time, people are treated in a generalized way: “They’re all the enemy.” Sheriff Troy Nehls defended his staff and said that the state of Texas had failed by not funding adequate mental health care.



The Death Of Victoria Gray: How Texas Jails Are Failing Their Most Vulnerable Captives

Sep 16th, 2015
Victoria Gray

Just over a year ago, 18-year-old Victoria was found hanging from a bookshelf inside her isolated jail cell. An investigation into her death exposed that jailers, in direct violation of the law, failed to check on her nearly a dozen times and failed to contact a judge for days despite her mental health screening results. In honor of Victoria, Think Progress took a closer look at suicides in Texas jails and found a deadly and systemic pattern of neglect. “A lot of people don’t realize how much damage can be done to individuals in the county jails,” says Texas Jail Project’s Executive Director, Diana Claitor.



Unanswered Questions in Jailhouse Suicide

Sep 4th, 2015

How did Athena Covarrubias manage to hang herself in a shower stall?

On Tuesday, Aug. 18, a few minutes after 10am, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office sent notice of what will likely be recognized as Texas’ 30th suicide in a county jail this year. The news came just as Lt. Gov.Dan Patrick and Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chair of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee, were decrying the fact that the state had already recorded 29. Since 2012, 100 have suffered self-inflicted deaths in Texas jails



Committee to hold hearing on jail, police issues in wake of Bland death

Jul 24th, 2015

“It’s their vulnerability, the fact lots of medical and mental problems occur in jail,” said Diana Claitor, of the Texas Jail Project, which advocates for inmates across the state. “When jails take custody of a human being, they’re constitutionally required to care and protect for them, and maintain pretty much constant supervision of them.”

Of the 24 suicides in the Harris County jail or jails in Waller, Liberty, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Galveston, Chambers and Brazoria county, jailers failed to conduct proper suicide screenings or observation checks in at least a third of them, according to state records.

“Someone doesn’t have to be actively suicidal to spiral downwards,” Claitor said. “There’s a huge emotional impact of being put in jail itself. If they have mental health issues, its even more urgent they be constantly examined and judged as to their mental and emotional state.”



Gaines County: Abel Vasquez dies after suicide attempt at jail

Dec 3rd, 2014

 Tuesday, September 9, 2014 11:37 AM, NewsWest9.com GAINES COUNTY – A Gaines County Jail inmate has died after attempting suicide. The incident happened on Sunday at the Gaines County Law Enforcement Center. We’re told that 18-year-old Abel Marroquin Vasquez from Seagraves was attempting suicide by hanging. Officials say that Vasquez was taken to Memorial Hospital