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

Lead Article

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

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. Read on for the job description!

Featured Articles

Thursday, August 2nd—the Jail Commission meets in Austin Thursday, August 2nd—the Jail Commission meets in Austin

Each meeting starts at 9 am sharp, and anyone can attend! If you want to make some comments during public input, be early to get a seat and ready to talk by 9:05. Many people think that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards is all powerful and can direct jails in every aspect, but actually TCJS only has limited authority over how a sheriff decides to run his jail. Also, TCJS will not investigate anything involving criminal acts, such as rape or assault. You need to report crimes like those to the Texas Rangers and/or the FBI. And please let the Texas Jail Project know, too! Read on for more info on TCJS and how it operates.

Kandace in the Jefferson County Jail Kandace in the Jefferson County Jail

Jarvis Cooper emailed the Texas Jail Project a message with the subject line “please help” on July 11th. He was reaching out for his partner, Kandace Washington, a 22-year-old woman more than six months pregnant with a high-risk pregnancy, incarcerated in the county jail in Beaumont. Before she was arrested on a nonviolent charge, she had been regularly seeing doctors at the University of Texas Medical Branch and doing her best to stay healthy.
“When I was booked in, I told them my UTMB doctor explained the high risk pregnancy,” said Kandace. “But I don’t know if they ever got [my medical records] at the jail.”

Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

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.

Habeas Corpus

If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial … If your loved one was found incompetent to stand trial …

There is a legal filing to make sure a person found incompetent is hospitalized or removed from the jail. If your loved one has been found incompetent to stand trial due to mental disability but has continued to be held in jail without treatment, the person’s lawyer can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the court that requires the county to provide him/her with appropriate medical care—in other words, send them to a hospital. Once the court grants the Writ, the Sheriff must comply. Go to next page for the Writ, which you can download.

Pretrial Detention

Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas

“Sharing my story might not make it more safe for myself, but I would like to make it safe for someone else.” says John Brown, who was jailed at Dallas County Jail for two and a half years while awaiting trial. His and other stories reveal what happens to unconvicted people held in jails, mostly because they cannot afford the bail—a practice outlawed in many developed nations.
Last year, Texas Jail Project launched a website, “Jailhouse Stories: Voices from Pretrial Detention in Texas.” Collected over a two-year period, these powerful stories document a pattern of mistreatment and poor conditions experienced by those incarcerated in county jails while pretrial—innocent in the eyes of the law and awaiting their day in court.

Families Speak Out

“Without you guys, I’d have been totally lost!” “Without you guys, I’d have been totally lost!”

March 2018: “When my relative was in the county jail (Central Texas), without you guys I’d have been totally lost! Diana wrote me many emails and she even called the jail administrator to find out why I wasn’t being allowed to visit my loved one who was very sick while in that jail for months. Also Texas Jail Project has an awesome board member named Maria Anna Esparza who talked to me about her experiences with a loved one held for years in a county jail and with mental hospitals—sometimes we still talk and keep up with each other. Diana spent several weeks helping me convince my attorney to file a writ of habeas corpus to get my son out of that jail. In about a week, that got my loved one transferred to a hospital.”