All entries by this author

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



Nathan Green tragedy in Slate magazine article

Jun 22nd, 2017 | By
Nathan Green tragedy in Slate magazine article

TJP highlighted the tragic death of Nathan Green from the first moment we heard from his loving family in Livingston, Texas. It was inconceivable that a healthy man could contract TB in the jail and not be treated or his family notified until he was unconscious in a local hospital. Now Slate, a national online magazine, found his story through our website “Jailhouse Stories: Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas” and interviewed the family to feature in their article on deaths in custody. (go to next page for Slate link & story)
Texas Jail Project has come to know Nathan’s family and other Livingston families who have lost loved ones to the Polk County criminal justice system. We are proud of how they are pursuing justice like they did at the recent legislature and are now doing in the courts. The family keeps Nathan’s light shining.



Waller County Needs to Replace Outdated Jail

Apr 27th, 2017 | By
Waller County Needs to Replace Outdated Jail

The Houston Chronicle continues its ongoing coverage of problems in county jails that can and do affect thousands of Texans who are held in them before ever being “convicted criminals.” In this new story about Waller Jail, where Sandra Bland died, we see some of the many reasons a jail is classified as substandard. TJP’s director is quoted, saying,
“An updated facility would allow for better supervision and use of staff, but county commissioners often reject building new jails,” said Diana Claitor of the Texas Jail Project. “The public can also push back against funding such projects, not grasping how essential they are to the health of the community.”

“It’s easily put at the bottom of the list of what the county needs, and it should be at the top,” she said.



Travis County pretrial release system

Apr 26th, 2017 | By

One reason Texas has so many people held pretrial in county jails— resulting in high numbers of deaths due to medical neglect and suicide—is that out of 254 counties, only 5 use risk assessment tools that give the county a good way to release people without cash bond. …

Turns out “Travis County’s risk-informed pretrial release system removes poverty as an impediment to release, creating a fairer system for defendants,” and at the same time, saves the county money and results in fewer future problems for defendants.