Kandace in the Jefferson County Jail

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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.”

Featured Articles

Marc McILwain: He will always be part of us Marc McILwain: He will always be part of us

Marc Bryant McIlwain was born October 4, 1986, and he died on July 11, 2009, in the  San Jacinto County Jail at Coldsprings, Texas. He was held pretrial from the end of May on and never got to see the judge. “I had three boys, Marc being the middle child, and I loved all my boys

Pregnant inmates & the Texas Commission on Jail Standards Pregnant inmates & the Texas Commission on Jail Standards

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.

Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People

“Texas’ most populous county jails misdemeanor arrestees who can’t afford bail, an unconstitutional “wealth-based” system that leaves poor people languishing behind bars, an inmate claims in a federal class action.” We already knew about a lot of the inequities in the court system in Houston from the Project Orange Jumpsuit report of 2014, but now we know more. And this lawsuit demonstrates that people are not going to take it any more. ODonnell says in her lawsuit “Harris County’s detention system is unconstitutionally rigged against poor people because magistrate judges set their bail with no consideration of whether they can afford it.”

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

“I found your website….and I am profoundly grateful.” “I found your website….and I am profoundly grateful.”

July 2017: “Thank you Texas Jail Project for the wonderful help you gave me dealing with a very difficult situation with a love one jailed facing a very serious felony charge. A friend suggested I contact Texas Jail Project for help. I am happy to report they did indeed help over a extended period of time [months]. They made many suggestions on how I should proceed and sending me copies of legal forms I would need. A special thanks to Krishnaveni Gundu. She was unbelievable helpful in her tireless effort to help us.”