A Mother’s Report on Harris County JailMay 16th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Families Speak Out, Harris County
My son is currently in the Harris County Jail (HCJ). I want the public to realize and understand how dangerous it is for any inmate to be there. One of the doctors and several guards refused to give my son medical treatment (yes…it happens a lot and it happened to my child).
Punishment for crime is being sent to jail. In jail, the inmates get hard cots, disgusting and scarcely enough food and water, boredom, loss of freedom, extreme temperatures, no privacy and so much more! But the staff is supposed to enforce the rules. Here in this jail, most staff members are sadistic and hateful to the inmates and punish the inmates by abusing and neglecting them. My son has received his sentence, and he will serve his time as he should but guards and the doctors at HCJ do not have the right to “give my son the death penalty” due to medical neglect. This is a very frightening abuse of power.
My son had a major head trauma with 49 staples in his head and was experiencing complications. One of the HCJ doctors repeatedly refused to give my son medical attention. He needed wound care: his head had to be cleaned to prevent infection and further complications. My son’s primary care doctor visited him and was very alarmed at how his head looked. His doctor asked why he was not getting his wound cleaned, and my son advised his doctor that the jail doctor wouldn’t allow it nor would he allow my son to have an extra towel to use on his head so he could try to clean it himself. My son was to use the very same towel that he dried his entire body and hands with to clean his head.
It was only because my son’s primary care doctor, the Texas Jail Project, my son’s attorney and I all got involved that my son started getting wound care each night. It is important to have your inmate sign a medical release form so you can keep track of every single thing. The sad thing is that there are so many others in jail that may not make it home to see their loved ones. This same doctor was overheard by my son telling another inmate that he “hated to hear whiny inmates complain” when an inmate advised the doctor that he was experiencing chest pains after his open heart surgery.
The HCJ doctor also repeatedly refused to do anything about the swelling in my son’s head. He kept discharging him from the infirmary without medical care. On April 4th about 5:30PM at jail JA09 2H10E, my son asked a guard for medical assistance. She refused to help. She wouldn’t even get up from her chair so he could speak with her. Afterwards, he was found unconscious on the floor and spent the next 15 days in the hospital and having a third surgery.
The guards complain about their pay, but from the reports I have received, the guards mostly sit and play games on their phones. When an inmate has a legitimate problem or need, they get irate because the inmates are interrupting Angry Birds (their phone game). My son was stuck between 2 doors for almost 5 minutes because a guard was playing on her phone and opened one (secure) door for him and went back to playing on her phone without opening the next (secure) door that was about 4 feet away. She was pretty irritated with him when he finally asked her to open the next door. It is apparent that the guards’ use of their personal cell phones while on the job is a huge problem at HCJ.
I am outraged at this neglect and abuse, as we all should be. I am also outraged at how taxpayer money is being wasted because Harris County Jail refuses to treat the inmates in a timely manner. My son would not have had to be in the hospital for 15 days if the doctors and the guards had given him the medical treatment he needed in the first place. Not only did the taxpayers pay for the hospital stay but also for a police guard
24 hours a day for the entire 15 days. This should have been a 3 or 4 day hospital stay. Taxpayers, aren’t you outraged?
The guards also violated my son’s constitutional rights because they would not allow his attorney access to him and they “lied” to her regarding his whereabouts. On April 6th, my son’s attorney called the jail infirmary and asked if he was there. She was told that he was right there in the infirmary. We found out later that my son had been admitted to the hospital on April 4th.
When my son was released from the hospital and taken back to the jail, all of his personal items were “missing” from the property room. I believe that this was yet another form of punishment the guards felt my son deserved. Harris County Jail had already repeatedly stolen from my son by charging his inmate account for things that he never received. Abuse of power! Should the inmates complain? There are grievance forms but how much worse will an inmate’s life get if he/she were to submit a grievance on anything that is done to them?
As taxpayers, we need to demand that things change at the HCJ, and as human beings, we should demand and pray that things change, people are held accountable for their actions and inactions, and that our loved ones are treated humanely. How would you or more importantly, how would these guards and jail doctors feel if their loved ones made a mistake and were at the mercy of jail staff like themselves?
Please help me and other families who have loved ones at HCJ to demand and insist on change so that problems are handled expeditiously and not escalated into huge problems, costs unnecessary taxpayer dollars, and/or cause the unnecessary death of one of our loved ones.
Go to the Online Complaint Form at the Texas Commission on Jail Standards website and fill it out, and ask them to take a look at how Harris County is treating inmates, especially ones with injuries.
Allowing the Harris County Jail system to operate as they currently are is just plain criminal negligence.
the mother of a person who is sentenced to jail time–not abuse.