Henry was held for thirteen months pretrial in Dallas County Jail. While being arrested and then living in the jail, he suffered injuries, went without medical care, and was denied medication. His mother, who lives on disability, would eat less in order to provide him money for phone calls and commissary food. This story is told by his mother, Angel Rose.
The numbers of people dying in county jails are adding up in 2014—and most recently, one of them was especially tragic. Only 18, Victoria Gray died in September in the Brazoria County Jail after that jail failed in so many ways, it will take a full investigation to sort that out and hold officers and officials accountable. Some, like Victoria, die of suicide while others die of what is called “natural causes,” and their deaths are not always investigated. (More have died in police custody or other facilities; we are only listing those in county jails.) Earlier this year, the list included Courtney Ruth Elmore, was 33 years old. She died February 11, 2014, around 7:00 a.m.. in the Brown County Jail. Was the staff trained to watch for respiratory failure? David Grimaldo, 18, a Perryton High School student died just hours after being booked into the Ochiltree County Jail. The Ochiltree County Sheriff Joe Hataway read from an autopsy report saying that the teen died of a medical condtion complicated by intoxication. Could it have been prevented?
We must remember Craig Morris. He was the human being who was allowed to die on a cold concrete floor at the Dallas County Jail because jailers didn’t think he needed medical care. They said they saw him but thought the floor “must have felt good to him.” But others saw this: a man who was at various times “confused, shaking and seemingly in pain. He was wheezing, hacking, breathing with difficulty, coughing up yellow-green phlegm, soiling himself and slumped over the shower floor.” God help you if you need medical help in the Dallas County Jail because the jailers won’t.
So people in jail without resources to get OUT of jail are now going to be charged for medical care while they are IN the jail! Yes, more and more jails are charging fees for any and all medical care. Dallas Couny has formulated its plan for taxing poor people and their families:
Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez recently announced that she will soon . . . . implement the plan to charge inmates a medical co-payment by tapping money in their commissary accounts, which they use to buy such items as toiletries and snacks. Inmates and their families put money in the accounts.
Another man is dead after being “restrained” in the Dallas county jail. While Dallas has worked hard to pass inspections by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, questions remain: is there something fundamentally wrong with the culture or the command? Are too many guards required to work overtime in a high stress environment? Whatever problems exist, Sheriff Valdez must find out and prevent further deaths. We don’t want to keep reading line’s like this one: “At issue is the question of whether restraint by the jail officers caused or contributed to the Nov. 10, 2011 death of George Barnes Koomson.”
Our sympathies to the family of George Koomson.
By SCOTT GOLDSTEIN and KEVIN KRAUSE, Published: 13 April 2012 10:59 PM Ruling clears way for depositions in suit over death at Dallas jail Dallas police officers say it can take hours for prisoners to be processed and screened for health problems at the county’s Lew Sterrett Justice Center, keeping cops off the streets for long periods
Texas Jail Project has been monitoring the number of complaints and calls for help from inmates inside Dallas County Jail, and the numbers are down. This week, one mother in California who was worried about her son reported that she was relieved to hear her son had received treatment for the flu that many inmates have right now. This is good news, but we still look for more improvement, since the #1 search term used most often on the Texas Jail Project website is Lew Sterritt, the name of the Dallas county jail – and that’s because a lot of people are looking for information and help in dealing with this jail.
From Lucy G’s account of what happened to her a little more than a year ago:: “Lew Sterrett Jail is in a very rough, bad part of downtown Dallas. I was released from there just after 2:30 AM with no cash on me and a dead cell phone. I was forced to go outside by the DPD, and I had to try and figure out a way home. No buses, no cabs, no trains, and many drug dealers and other unsavory people hanging out.”
Inmates of Texas county jails are sometimes released late at night without their property or a working phone or access to any transportation—in total darkness. In some documented cases, people had no experience with the area and no idea of their physical location, and in some instances, weather conditions were severe and the individuals lacked shoes or jackets.
A severely schizophrenic man held in the Dallas County Jail for nearly a year was released Tuesday to a mental institution.
Nicholas Sauve was arrested for shoving his mother last June. He was sentenced in September to 45 days in jail for a mental evaluation and five years of probation. Time and again, he was slated for release, but he never got beyond his cell in the jail’s north tower.