All entries by this author

Texas Jail Project is proud to announce that the Hogg Foundation is funding a two-year Peer Policy Fellowship at TJP!

May 11th, 2018 | By

Great news for our advocacy for people experiencing mental illness/substance abuse issues and involved in the criminal justice system! The Hogg Foundation is funding a position for “a Peer Policy Fellow who brings direct experience into the conversations about mental health, addiction, and criminal justice reform.” The mentor will be the renowned Dr. Lynda Frost, formerly associate director of the Hogg Foundation. With this position, our work and the lived experience of a peer policy fellow will advance important issues and increase awareness of stakeholders and the public.
Over the past 8 years, more than 75% of the emails and calls to our group have been complaints and cries for help regarding people experiencing mental illness while incarcerated in county jails. That category often includes pregnant women, veterans and people who are also ill with physical illnesses or disabilities. While some jail staff are trained in how to treat people living with mental illness, many officers are not and the rapid turnover in jail staff doesn’t help.



Thursday, August 2nd—the Jail Commission meets in Austin

Apr 30th, 2018 | By
Thursday, August 2nd—the Jail Commission meets in Austin

Each meeting starts at 9 am sharp, and anyone can attend! If you want to make some comments during public input, be early to get a seat and ready to talk by 9:05. Many people think that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards is all powerful and can direct jails in every aspect, but actually TCJS only has limited authority over how a sheriff decides to run his jail. Also, TCJS will not investigate anything involving criminal acts, such as rape or assault. You need to report crimes like those to the Texas Rangers and/or the FBI. And please let the Texas Jail Project know, too! Read on for more info on TCJS and how it operates.



First United Methodist Women’s Group of Hempstead

Apr 8th, 2018 | By

TJP’s Krishnaveni Gundu has recently spoken on the nuances and unique circumstances faced by incarcerated juveniles, women, and their family members in Texas County Jails at Rothko Chapel, the First United Methodist Women’s Group of Hempstead, and the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s Spring meeting.



Marc McILwain: He will always be part of us

Feb 2nd, 2018 | 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



We are answering more critical calls and we need your help ….please!

Dec 28th, 2017 | By
We are answering more critical calls and we need your help ….please!

Our months of advocacy resulted in a Texas family’s loved one being moved to a psychiatric hospital after 7 months in an isolation cell. Her sister (left) met with TJP’s director in person for the first time this month. Wendolyn Lacy says,
“I am speechless—WE ARE SO GRATEFUL. We understand we can say thanks all day, but donations are what you guys need to keep y’all going and help folks like my sister.”

Please donate today! New: Donate in the name of a loved one or a person who values justice for all. We will place his/her name in the new “Texas Jail Project Honor Roll” on our front page.



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.



Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

Sep 1st, 2017 | By
Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

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.