Featured Articles

Pregnant Women in Texas County Jails

Oct 1st, 2018 | 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.



Why is it important to differentiate between county jails & prisons?

Sep 18th, 2018 | By

You’re watching the news, and the reporter solemnly states, “William Larcenous will be spending the rest of his life in jail.” Or describes Mary Doe languishing in prison waiting for trial.

That’s not going to happen! Why?

 “Jails” and “prisons” are not the same thing. We use the terms interchangeably—and incorrectly. JAILS are run locally and most of the people held there are NOT yet convicted. The length of time people stay in jails varies from 1 day to many months. PRISONS confine people who are convicted and sentenced to a certain amount of time, usually at least a year.*

Using these terms accurately will improve public awareness of the large percentage of people still innocent—pretrial—in their local jails. It will also increase understanding of how the criminal justice system works. To ensure higher quality media coverage, reporters and commentators need to make the distinction plain. 



Chaplain Describes Jails’ Treatment of Families

Aug 8th, 2018 | By
Chaplain Describes Jails’ Treatment of Families

Deacon Bob spoke truth to the Commissioners and staff at the quarterly meeting of the Jail Commission. One of his important points: “It appears that the sheriff and local staff have little concern for families of those incarcerated and the important role they play. These sheriffs seem to forget they are elected by those in their community, who may have a loved one in their jail. I hear it said many times by families that feel like they are being treated as though they have committed a crime, as well. I realize that public safety is top priority for the county jails, but families can and should be treated with respect. Each of us were created in God’s image and likeness.”



Maria Anna invites you to Jailhouse Stories

May 5th, 2018 | By
Maria Anna invites you to Jailhouse Stories

Maria Ana speaks about her son’s experience of being held pretrial in a Texas county jail for 3 years and asks others to tell their stories.



The Next Jail Commission meeting: Nov. 1st

Apr 30th, 2018 | By
The Next Jail Commission meeting: Nov. 1st

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.



Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People

May 25th, 2016 | By
Harris County Lawsuit: Bail Penalizes Poor People

“Texas’ most populous county jails misdemeanor arrestees who can’t afford bail, an unconstitutional “wealth-based” system that leaves poor people languishing behind bars, an inmate claims in a federal class action.” We already knew about a lot of the inequities in the court system in Houston from the Project Orange Jumpsuit report of 2014, but now we know more. And this lawsuit demonstrates that people are not going to take it any more. ODonnell says in her lawsuit “Harris County’s detention system is unconstitutionally rigged against poor people because magistrate judges set their bail with no consideration of whether they can afford it.”



We will punish you before you’re convicted!

Aug 21st, 2015 | By

This 5 year old blog by Scott Henson still resonates because it examines attitudes and reality of how people in Texas are jailed while not yet convicted: Pretrial punishment: “Sentence first – verdict afterwards!” Increasingly, not just in Texas but nationwide, more and more punishment of criminal defendants, particularly those accused of misdemeanors, occurs pretrial before



Can you Volunteer? Help TJP help others

Jul 29th, 2015 | 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]



2007-2010: “Rape Camp” in Live Oak County Jail

Apr 1st, 2015 | By

“In this facility, numerous jailers, all employed by the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office, repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates over an extended period of time.” A federal lawsuit is revealing terrible details about an obscure county jail in south Texas where women held pretrial were subjugated to terrible abuse.
While two of the jailers who assualted the women are already serving time, here are new detains of horrible oppression during pretrial detention. “Guards would withhodl food, drink essentail hygiene items, threaten to harm her or take away privileges” unless the woman allowed them to all .” And that’s just the beginning. Thanks to Courthouse News for great reporting.



A son lost to a Texas city jail

Jul 13th, 2014 | By
A son lost to a Texas city jail

Look into the eyes of Ron Converse, to understand the cost of no regulations of city jails. His son, a 26-year-old welder from Wisconsin named Chad Silvis, killed himself in the Kemah City Jail after being arrested for public intoxication. He was pretrial, thus still innocent.
City jailers in Texas don’t have to meet the minimum standards that county jails do. State officials aren’t even sure how many city jails are operating across Texas, but estimate there are at least 350. Diana Claitor, director of the Texas Jail Project, describes this death as an unnecessary tragedy for families. She said, “People have blinders on and don’t seem to be willing to work on this issue of suicides in jails.”
Read St. John Barned-Smith’s story to find out how such tragedies can be prevented.