All entries by this author

Marc McILwain: He will always be part of us

Oct 2nd, 2017 | By
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



Kandace in the Jefferson County Jail

Sep 29th, 2017 | By
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.”



Bail roulette: how the same minor crime can cost $250 or $10,000

Sep 20th, 2017 | By
Bail roulette: how the same minor crime can cost $250 or $10,000

Depending on where you are, bail for a minor misdemeanor can vary from $250 to $10,000 and as they say in this article, “Decisions can vary widely depending on a defendant’s race and the judge they see.” Sound arbitrary and unfair? You got that right. Many of 65,000 people sitting in Texas county jails tonight are there just because they or their family does not have the money for bail and that bail may be high because of the color of their skin. And those thousands of unconvicted people, charged with nonviolent crimes, are often locked in those cells with violent offenders. This Guardian story compares the wildly different bails set for minor charges in California and Florida, but the same is true in the great state of Texas.



Who in the World is in Favor of Cash Bail?

Sep 2nd, 2017 | By
Who in the World is in Favor of Cash Bail?

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, Aug. 25, 2017

Pretty much everyone who spends any time examining the American system of secured cash bail comes away with the same conclusion: It’s unjust, expensive and ineffective, even counterproductive. People charged with crimes — all of whom are presumed innocent — get locked up for days, weeks or months not because they pose a risk of fleeing or endangering the public but simply because they’re too poor to buy their freedom.



Sep 1st, 2017 | By

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 Jail: A Nutritional Survey of Pregnant Inmates

Aug 21st, 2017 | By
Harris County Jail: A Nutritional Survey of Pregnant Inmates

Earlier this year, a 22 year old graduate student named Kristina Sadler, working on her Masters in Social Work at the University of Houston, found herself thinking about the plight of pregnant inmates in the county jails of Texas. Not prisons, but county jails where a majority of the population is pre-trial detainees. In particular, most women detainees are in there for minor misdemeanors related to poverty, substance abuse/possession or mental health issues. Rarely for violent crimes.



#SandraBlandAct is good despite the many misses

Aug 9th, 2017 | By
#SandraBlandAct is good despite the many misses

Grits for Breakfast blogger Scott Henson makes the point that reforms and real oversight of jails must be informed by knowledge and experience: “Grits would rather Texas Commission on Jail Standards be given investigators to review the ~101 jail deaths per year themselves instead of appointing another law enforcement agency. Other local agencies won’t typically have experience performing investigations in a correctional institution, which is a different kettle of fish from investigations in the free world.” Texas Jail Project frequently has to explain how different that kettle of fish is in discussions with advocates and lawmakers who don’t have experience with carceral settings.



Can you Volunteer? Help TJP help others

Jul 29th, 2017 | By
Can you Volunteer? Help TJP help others

When a chaplain visits a person in a county jail, they often bring hope and a listening ear along with spiritual guidance. At other times, chaplains have called us or spoken out to sheriffs when they’ve seen a person with mental illness treated badly or a pregnant woman left in a solitary cell for weeks on end. Families have asked us to post a list of chaplains at county jails, and we haven’t had the time or staff to do that. Volunteers could help us complile a list. [continue for more details]



We miss you, our dear precious Hank

Jul 20th, 2017 | By
We miss you, our dear precious Hank

Hank’s sister says: 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 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.



WALLER COUNTY Chelsea Schehr’s Story

Jul 18th, 2017 | By

TJP’s executive director Diana Claitor was quoted in this Houston Chronicle article about the shameful treatment of a mother in Waller County jail.   http://texasjailproject.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=5775&action=edit