All entries by this author

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.



TX legislature: Speaking about a jail experience

Mar 29th, 2017 | By
TX legislature: Speaking about a jail experience

Cat speaking before the House committee on Criminal Jurisprudence



Help us help Texans today and every day

Mar 1st, 2017 | By
Help us help Texans today and every day

The King, Bogany and Wills families, with historic roots in Polk County, all lost their sons in the Polk County criminal justice system. We were honored that they stopped by our office to express appreciation for the encouragement and information Texas Jail Project has given them.
They hope you will encourage us too, by donating to TJP, by check or Pay Pal. (See our donate button on this page) Continue on, to read the first hand accounts of the King family that are part of our Jailhouse Stories collection.



New report highlights mental health issues in Texas jails

Feb 7th, 2017 | By

by Reagan Ritterbush, February 1, 2017, The Daily Texan In 2010, Amy Lynn Cowling, a 33-year-old mother, was arrested for an outstanding misdemeanors warrant. Upon arriving at the nearest jail, Cowling had to replace her normal medications with substitutes because her original medications were banned by the Texas jail system.  While withdrawing from the drugs,



Non-Compliant Jails – TJCS Reports

Dec 18th, 2016 | By
Non-Compliant Jails – TJCS Reports

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) has four inspectors who conduct at least one inspection a year of the 245 county jails—to monitor whether they are in compliance with the Texas Minimum Jail Standards.* When jails are found to be out of compliance, the commission files a report which is used as the basis for inquiry at the quarterly hearings–attended by the Sheriffs–of the TCJS in Austin.
These reports are also available on the TCJS website but only until the jail gets back in compliance; then they are removed and the public cannot see, for example, if their jail was out of compliance last year and the reasons. Read on to see the 10 jails now out of compliance!



Inmates Die at a Faster Rate in Harris County Jail

Nov 10th, 2016 | By
Inmates Die at a Faster Rate in Harris County Jail

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards was tougher with Harris County Jail and their overcrowding issues at last week’s meeting. Probably because they’ve been getting “variances” since 2005. Variances: TEMPORARY exceptions to the regulations as in allowing Harris County to house people in a cell by adding “low riders” or other temporary beds.
While HCSO jail has to hold people who are not given bail or are assigned an unaffordably high bond, they are bound by law to ensure that those people are held safely and humanely. Not happening. We hope that the new sheriff, DA and judges will work together to stop the terrible dealths of people like Tamara Moe’s brother who die there while awaiting trial. Read on for a great Huffington Post piece.



Texas Justice Initiative: 7,000 Deaths in Custody

Oct 28th, 2016 | By
Texas Justice Initiative: 7,000 Deaths in Custody

The new well-designed website by Amanda Woog clarifies the way people die in custody in Texas, whether the person was held by police, by a local jail, or in a state prison. The first ever website of this kind points out the racial disparities as well as the high number of deaths of people unconvicted and uncharged. National attention to deaths in custody has been rising but most of all, the tragic death of Sandra Bland in Texas is shaking up public perceptions.
This Atlantic Magazine article praises TJI, pointing out that “Texas reflects a markedly high number of deaths in custody compared to national trends. The increased attention to suspicious cases such as Bland’s—which some see as representative of a deadly trend in over-policing of black citizens—magnifies the importance of this kind of tool, which allows anyone to study and analyze the data.”



If your loved one has been found incompetent to stand trial….

Oct 27th, 2016 | By
If your loved one has been 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, your loved one’s lawyer can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the court demanding that the county provide him/her with appropriate medical care. Once the court grants the Writ, the Sheriff must comply. Go to next page for the Writ, which you can download.



Settlement from Waller and DPS for Bland Family

Sep 19th, 2016 | By
Settlement from Waller and DPS for Bland Family

Texas Jail Project often discovers hidden practices by jailers who mistreat or neglect people in their care—who fail to even consider them as human beings. Many of the lawsuits that result are settled with the stipulation that nobody talk about these practices, so the public never hears the truth. So while we’re glad the Bland family is getting some justice and financial satisfaction, we agree with Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin chapter of Black LIves Matter, who hopes some details aren’t lost behind a confidentiality agreement.
“That sometimes can make it harder for us to recover evidence of further practices of repeated abuse and abuse of power,” she said. Haule also made another good point: there needs to be more training and educational requirements for jail employees and better documentation of reported police misconduct.



Collin County investigated for firing gay jailer

Sep 1st, 2016 | By
Collin County investigated for firing gay jailer

Welcome to the Collin County Jail, where it’s acceptable to harrass and threaten a person on your staff because they are gay. This great story by John Wright from the Texas Observer examines what happens when the command staff of a jail is fine with discrimination and intimidation and hatred. Officer Derek Boyd describes how officials in the sheriff’s department “threatened and interrogated him, outed him to his colleagues, prohibited him from speaking publicly about the matter, and forced him to undergo a polygraph test, which he passed. Other detention officers even refused to respond to Boyd’s radio calls, jeopardizing his safety.” Boyd says , “I got things like, I don’t belong here, God has a special place for me in hell.”