Our son is home. If it had not been for your prompt attention…

Jul 7th, 2016 | By | Category: Families Speak Out

Continuation of mail from the Tyre family in Ft. Worth, 2015

It is unfortunate that our son had to experience the trauma and humiliation which he underwent the 6 months he was incarcerated. My husband Tom and I only came to find the insurmountable and catastrophic injustices in our legal system because of our love for our son.

If it had not been for your prompt attention to this matter we would not have had the opportunity to meet with other advocates for the treatment of inmates and MHMR patients.

May God Bless You and Guide you.

Letter from Catherine Giles about Denton County Jail, December, 2015

I want to thank you and Texas Jail Project for your support and your advocacy on behalf of my son, Richard Haskins, regarding the Denton County Jail. You and your organization have listened, supported me, given me information, and have assisted me regarding Denton County Jail procedures, health and legal documents, and resources to legal and advocacy resources in order to assist my son, who was denied his Constitutional and civil rights by having his access denied to his prescribed medications for a serious medical issue as well as his access denied to signing legal documents related to his healthcare , power of attorney, and to his income tax filing.

Thank you again for your support and for all the wonderful work you and the Texas Jail Project have done for my son.

Excerpt of email from a mother in El Paso, 2015

I would like to tell everyone about our son’s awful experience regarding his unfair extensive jail time while waiting to be moved to Vernon Hospital.  I am thankful for Diana Claitor, Executive Director and Katherine Lewis from Disability Rights Texas (DRT) for representing our son who has a mental disability.

Our son was wasting away in jail and they could not get the correct medications for him and he was suffering from bad side effects due to the incorrect medications they were giving him or medications that were not in stock.  Previously, while in jail, he had suffered a severe anxiety attack which caused him to fall landing head first.  He was taken to the county hospital and was returned to be put in lock down for several weeks after his head injury.

I received advice and help from the Texas Jail Project and Disability Rights Texas. I honestly believe that if Diana Claitor and Katherine Lewis did not step in to help us get our son moved to Vernon Hospital, he would be in the El Paso Jail facing other horrifying situations. I am very grateful to have stumbled on to these wonderful ladies and for the help they gave us.  I cannot say enough about what they are doing and the good they stand for.  I pray that others find them too.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!

 A loving sister wrote TJP about treatment of a mentally inmate in Hardin County, September, 2012

Due to your diligence and forwarding my e-mail to the right place, we have finally found someone to listen…someone to help…someone to care.  I spoke with Ms.. ___ at MHMR and she is working diligently to ensure my sister is receiving the proper help and care she needs during this ordeal.

Without Diana Claitor of the Texas Jail Project this would have never happened…especially not this soon. TJP works…I mean literally. I will keep you posted on the progress of the case and please let me know if I can do anything to help the Texas Jail Project. Again, thank you so much and God Bless.


Excerpt of letter to TJP Executive Director from family of Amy Lynn Cowling, Gregg County, May. 2011

I wanted to thank you and Texas Jail Project for all the help, support, information and peace of mind you have brought to our family. There is not enough words or praise to express how much we appreciate everything you have done and are still doing.

We are going through a very difficult time over the death of our Amy and it is not easy…our only hope is that with our tragedy that someone else can be saved and laws can be changed to protect someone else that may go thru this. We will support you and your organization any way we possible can to get these laws changed.

People in our county jails in Texas are sick and dying, victims of county employees who do not have the morals and sense of responsibility they should have. This has got to stop and again we are with you on anything we can help to get this changed. Thank you.

Excerpt of a ‘Thank You’ note posted on TJP’s website by a daughter (who wishes to remain anonymous) of a Tarrant County inmate, 2010

I found this website and helped my mother write all the contacts that are suggested on the complaint page. I just wanted to thank you for your site. I feel sorry for the inmates that aren’t having their basic rights respected or acknowledged. Because they don’t have people who look out for them, they think it’s the norm and have no option other than to accept it. Your site is a must for anyone with a loved one in jail. Keep up the good work. Change only happens when a person stands up. Thank you again.

Tingdale, RRT, RN, CPHQ, and mother of a pregnant inmate in the Ellis County Jail, 2008

Dear Diana, [My daughter]   called this evening to say the jail will give her an extra tray everyday because she is continuing to lose weight. They did a Doppler today and heard the fetal heart tone. I want to thank you again for your help and ask you how or what I can do to support your efforts for others in the future?

Email from a mother in Abilene, Taylor County, 2008
I would like to think Diane and Diana and the Texas Jail Project for coming to Abilene and showing the medical neglect and mistreatment of inmates in the Taylor County Jail. She listened to our stories when everyone else had a dead ear. She helped my son Westley Freeman when he was in the jail being beaten and with medical neglect, after that things seemed better but then got bad again. It is people like TJP that helps make changes in County Jails. Thank you Texas Jail Project for helping the citizens of Taylor County. Just know we are still fighting the fight.From Chaplain Gail Hanson of Cameron County–Brownsville, February 3, 2008I am amazed, pleased and proud of the way the newspaper & citizens of Brownsville have taken to heart last week’s Texas Jail Project editorial. See below for today’s excellent *editorial calling for change in all U.S. jails…Also, I’ve received several emails from activists from Pax Christi and Texas Inmate Family’s Association and others who say they will take up the cause of women in the Cameron County jail. Thanks to all of you for your support too. Please pass this editorial on to friends around the state.Thank you so much, Diana & Texas Jail Project!

Hank Hankins story, written by The sister of James “Hank” Hankins misses her brother terribly. Here is her written version of his life story, from the time of his birth in 1958 in Hugo, Oklahoma, to the premature and sudden end of his life this year in Texarkana. The family plans to create a memorial garden and his scholarship fund in his honor. They don’t want to focus on the Bowie County authorities who seemed to have ignored his illlness and suffering. Instead they want to point out the value of Hank’s life and the great affection many people felt toward him.

RIP Hank. We won’t forget you.

James Hankins was born in Hugo, Oklahoma in 1958.  His parents were Shirley and  Billy  Hankins.  He has two sisters Pat and Mary and one brother Billy. James moved to  Simms,  Texas when he was just a baby.  His dad owned cattle and when he was old  enough he loved  helping tend to them.  He was ready to help with anything related to  the  cattle including  doctoring, branding and feeding. He loved riding horses. His first  horse  was a Welch buckskin  he named Buck.

James graduated from Simms High School in 1977.  He loved sports and was  quarterback for the football team.  He was very handsome and popular.  His senior year he was named Mr. James Bowie High School and FHA Beau.  He was known to most as “Hank,” short for Hankins.

He loved the outdoors and was always hunting and fishing.  He was passing these passions on to his grandson Devin before he was suddenly taken from him.  He took him on many camping and fishing trips. In June 2012, he took five kids on a fishing expedition and they caught over fifty fish.

He also loved sports and was always rooting for the Oklahoma Sooners football team.  He was a true OU fan and loved watching the games with his two daughters Ashley and Kristal. His three grandchildren Devin, Ashia, and Kyler were his pride and joy.  He took Devin and Ashley to a Rangers baseball game this past 2012 summer; Kyler was too young to go.  He never missed any of Devin’s T Ball games and took him to many of his practices and made sure Devin had new cleats and glove to play ball with.  Before James went to Bi State he had made a promise to take Devin to a “real rodeo,” he fulfilled that promise and while there Devin entered a sheep riding contest and walked away with a trophy.

He worked hard to be able to do things with his daughters and grandkids.  These things made him the happiest.  He had a trophy made for Devin before his sentencing that said “World’s Greatest Grandson from Paw Paw.” He adored all of his grandbabies.

When he got with his buddies he liked to play dominos and cook on the grill.  James favorite foods were pork chops, steak and chili he liked to grill out for his family.

James was a very skilled carpenter. He was very smart in math which made this an easy task for him.  He built play houses and outdoor equipment for his girls when they were small.  He had built a small picnic table for the grandkids just before he had to go away.  He was capable of during many things.  He could plumb, do electrical work, mechanic, etc.  He was truly amazing.

James worked at T&N pipe yard in Lone Star Texas for many years.  He later worked in the logging business.  He liked this kind of work because he was outdoors.  During the last few years of his life he became an employee of Dr. Parks. James was hired to manage her home and landscape.  James remodeled almost every room in her house. James built a play house and swing set for her children and grandchildren. Dr Parks depended on James for everything from a leaky toilet to a flat tire and he was there for her rain or shine with a smile on his face.

Dr Parks’ family took James in as one of their own and was a great role model for her children and grandchildren.  Parker, Dr. Parks oldest grandchild tried his best to work like James and had a small truck he named the “James Truck”.  Parker and Devin both said they wanted to be like James and work with tools when they grow up. Since James passing the boys have done a “James show” for us imitating some of his behaviors pretending paint, hammer, mow and sit on the tail gate of a truck eating canned Vienna’s and drinking Gatorade.

James helped Dr. Parks with many other things including some big projects.  Among those was setting up a huge neighborhood Halloween party.  He constructed the “House of Horror” and built many props for the party including Dracula’s coffin.  James was a sport and dressed up for the occasion.  He built a nice bon fire and made sure the children stayed away from it.  He helped every year with Christmas decorations and parties.  He became an expert with outside Christmas lighting with the help of Dr. Parks.

One of James last projects in July 2012 was helping to build props, hanging banners, and other décor for Dr. Park’s grandmother’s 90th birthday party in Hope, Arkansas. James built a wheel of fortune for the party that was an exact replica of the show. A funny thing happened while they were decorating.  James was asked by one lady if he was an interior decorator.  He said, “I’ve been called a lot of things but never an interior decorator.”  This just showed how talented he was; he had so many great ideas and made work more of an adventure!

James was a sweet, kind and gentle man who was always putting himself last, never asking for anything.  He was honest and hard working and was satisfied with simple things. He lived a very humble life in Simms, TX.  He never had a lot but never wanted much.  Someone gave him a nice lawnmower once and his sister said,  “Good, you needed that.” He replied, “There is a family down the road that needs it a lot more than I do” and so he gave it to them.

James died a senseless death in the Bowie County Jail that could have been prevented; he had a perforated ulcer and peritonitis while incarcerated there. There is no closure for the families, we didn’t even get to say goodbye.  May he rest in peace.  The only consolation any of us have is that he is not in pain now and suffering behind the jail bars but free to live in the Glory of our Lord.

He was loved by all who knew him. We plan on purchasing a bench and creating a memory garden for James in the near future.  We want this to be visible for everyone in Bowie County to see as a reminder of his tragic and unnecessary death inside the jail.  We have started a scholarship fund in his name for a deserving senior from his Alma Mater Simms High School.


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