Harris County

Instead of Travis County Jail: A Sobering Center

Mar 17th, 2014 | By
Instead of Travis County Jail: A Sobering Center

People + too much alcohol = public intoxication charges. The right formula? Not really.
Consider the results of those arrests: a. Pretrial detention in a jail, where anything can and does happen to a person sobering up.
b. a criminal record for people who are often otherwise law-abiding.
c. officers waste hours booking drunks instead of pursuing serious criminals.
Of all the arrests in a year, about 10% of them are for this Class C misdemeanor, crowding the jail cells. Houston and San Antonio already have sobering centers. This healthier alternative to the Travis County Jail is explored in an editorial from the Austin American-Statesman, March 12, 2014.



Cali & Texas: in step to stop nighttime releases

Jan 27th, 2014 | By
Cali & Texas: in step to stop nighttime releases

A Texas jail may be a model for the newly proposed bill in California to ban the practice of dumping people out of county jails in the dark of night! Texas Jail Project feels some ownership of the idea: in 2011 we supported SB 1014 bill by bringing stories and people to the legislative committees, demonstrating cases of trauma and even death where Texans were released at rural and urban county jails. Senator Whitmire’s support and the grim accounts resulted in Harris County Jail stopping its policy of mass releases at night. This excellent article describes how California Senator Liu’s bill will try to ban their late night releases–a worthy goal in light of the tragic and needless death of Mitrice Richardson, a beautiful young woman released from the Malibu jail in the wee hours and later found dead.



Equality for LGBT Inmates at Harris County Jail

Nov 16th, 2013 | By

Is this a new day or what? Harris County’s Sheriff says, “We stay ahead of the curve…” and institutes a gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender policy that is comprehensive and progressive. Sheriff Garcia of Houston is in charge of the third-largest county jail in the U.S., where 125,000 are booked annually. At least 2.8 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Harris County’s new policy concerning inmates prohibits discrimination or harassment of any kind based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Now, we hope this means that LGBT inmates will also get good medical care and decent treatment–a concern since we are still hearing of Houston inmates of all genders and identifications who don’t necessarily get that while incarcerated there.
Not saying that caring for 8, 900 human beings is an easy job. Just saying it’s an important job to do right.



Innovative Rehab for Houston Prostitutes

Sep 21st, 2013 | By
Innovative Rehab for Houston Prostitutes

HOUSTON (AP) — Tricia Chambers began her life heavily dependent on heroin and methadone. From there, she was peddled into child pornography, and by 9 she had a full-fledged career in prostitution, alongside her mother. Now 42, Chambers is getting what she believes to be her first real chance — in a downtown Houston cellblock.



Harris County: Poor people get longer jail time

Sep 20th, 2013 | By
Harris County: Poor people get longer jail time

A new report states that Harris County defendents don’t receive jail time based on age, race, or the nature of the charge–it’s based on how much money they have: “What generally determines the defendants’ fate is his or her economic status.”
“If the accused is unable to afford financial bail, he or she will quickly learn, in Harris County, the punishment is weeks or months of pretrial incarceration,” say researchers from the Orange Jumpsuit Report. The hard data behind this important report corroborates what is known in poor communities all over Texas. In most of Texas 247 county jails, people without resources languish in pretrial detention–losing their jobs, their families, and sometimes their physical and mental health. The Texas Observer’s Emily DePrang succinctly summarizes the various complexities.



Harris County Jail: lack of meds

Jul 23rd, 2013 | By
Harris County Jail: lack of meds

A wife reports serious neglect: “My husband is in the Harris County jail right now and they lowered the dosage of a psych med for PTSD, if they give it to him at all. He also has a severe calcium deficiency and no one bothers to give him the calcium packets anymore after he was moved



A Mother’s Report on Harris County Jail

May 16th, 2013 | By

 My son is currently in the Harris County Jail (HCJ).  I want the public to realize and    understand how dangerous it is for any inmate to be there. One of the doctors and several guards refused to give my son medical treatment (yes…it happens a lot and it happened to my child). Punishment for crime



TJP Helps Death Row Inmate Awaiting Appeal

Jan 31st, 2013 | By
TJP Helps Death Row Inmate Awaiting Appeal

Dear Texas Jail Project, I wanted to write and let you know how much I appreciate what you have done for a friend of mine who is currently in Houston county jail awaiting death penalty re-hearing. I contacted your organization on Aug. 30th of 2012 about my pen-pal friend, RR, who is disabled (legally blind



Harris County Jail: Mental Health Pioneers or Not?

Jan 16th, 2013 | By
Harris County Jail: Mental Health Pioneers or Not?

Texas Jail Project asks for input on the following blog about the Harris County Jail’s specialized psychiatric care. We also want to know if any other jails across Texas are creating similar mental health units or implementing “best practices” or training officers to help inmates with mental disorders, to prevent inmates from getting sicker or from committing suicide.

Author and retired deputy warden Carl ToersBijns says “events inside the Maricopa County Jail prompted me to look at other jails nationwide and seek the differences in both the operational aspect of things and the treatment levels of mentally ill inmates incarcerated in our jails and prisons…..



The Perfect Fit: Houston’s “Prison Show” New Host

Jul 14th, 2012 | By

Ray Hill, creator of the famously innovative Prison Show on KPFT-FM (90.1), handed over the mike to Anthony Graves, who spent 18 years behind bars on a wrongful conviction, including a number of years in isolation and 12 years on death row.
“It seemed like a perfect fit for me,” said Graves, 47, who was released from prison and declared innocent in August 2010. He had been wrongfully convicted in 1994 of six counts of capital murder in Burleson County.