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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Posts Tagged ‘Prison’

An Inmate in Coryell County Jail in Gatesville, Texas, Dies After an Altercation with Jailers

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

English: Christina Crain Unit Español: Unidad ...

English: Christina Crain Unit Español: Unidad Christina Crain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Coryell County Jail in Gatesville, Texas, Kelli Leanne Page, a 46-year-old female inmate, died on Sunday morning, October 8, 2017. She reportedly “slipped out of consciousness” after a scuffle with two jailers. The two jailers who were allegedly involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave. In the meantime, there is an investigation into the incident being conducted by the Texas Rangers F Company.

According to Mark Wilcox, Coryell County Chief Deputy, at about 8:35 a.m. on Sunday, jailers responded to Page’s cell because she had been banging and beating on her door. The jailers first tried to subdue Page verbally. When this was unsuccessful, a standard-issue pepper spray was used on Page. This reportedly failed to stop her commotion.

The jailers then entered the cell, after which an altercation immediately began. Authorities say Page managed to secure a pair of handcuffs from a jailer. One of the jailers suffered non-life threatening injuries during the altercation. Page lost consciousness after being restrained.

The jailers tried to give Page CPR. This was continued by the county emergency medical services a short time later, but the effort was unsuccessful. Coryell County Justice of the Peace Coy Latham pronounced Page dead. Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas will perform an autopsy.

The jailer who was injured received medical attention at Coryell Memorial Hospital and was later released.

This is the second time an inmate has died in a correctional facility in Coryell County this year, the first being the custodial death of Shana Tedder, who died following an altercation with a fellow inmate at Crain Unit, a female prison.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Sherman County Jail in Stratford, Texas, is Cited for 3 Alleged Jail Standard Violations

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Former Huron County Jail

Former Huron County Jail (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Jail Inspection Report came out on September 26, 2017, detailing three violations of jail standards allegedly committed by Sherman County Jail in Stratford, Texas. Whether or not individuals are ultimately proven innocent, they have a right to be properly cared for while in the complete charge of jail staff; custodial deaths should be avoided if at all possible. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) does routine inspections on all jail facilities, to ensure that inmates, staff members, and others are in a safe environment. The civil rights of inmates should not be infringed upon during incarceration. For example, they are entitled to three meals per day, a safe environment, and medical attention when injured or ill.

One of the most dangerous situations is when an inmate at risk for committing suicide isn’t given appropriate supervision. Conducting frequent checks of such inmates prevents someone from succeeding in suicide. There have been many different cases in which a jail suicide occurred and then records revealed that deputies had allegedly been habitually late in making cell checks. Sometimes families sue a county for the loss of their loved one.

The following are the jail standards that were allegedly violated by Sherman County Jail:

  • The facility must be inspected annually by a local fire official.
  • Staff members must be trained for emergency situations at the time of being hired as well as each quarter. The training includes evacuation drills, emergency, fire, and location and use of equipment.
  • Written menus must be approved annually for compliance with basic nutrition requirements of inmates who are known to be pregnant.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Sepsis is a Fatal Condition that Requires Treatment, Yet Jails in Texas Seem to Routinely Deny Needed Care

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

(Photo: Labeled for reuse)

People sometimes end up serving brief jail sentences for minor, non-violent crimes. Many spend months and months in jail while awaiting a trial to prove their innocence for charges filed against them. Of course, many people are in jails and prisons because they were found guilty of or admitted to breaking the law. No matter which scenario lands a person under the custody of jail staff in a county jail or prison, the inmates have a right to survive illnesses they may suffer from during their stay. If jails neglect the medical needs of inmates, the results can be fatal. Sepsis in particular is a medical condition in which a person has a hyper-reactive immune system response to a bacterial infection. When medical treatment is not provided, the person can develop septic shock, which limits blood flow in the body and leads to organ failure and death.

Anyone who has a compromised immune system can be susceptible to sepsis. If an inmate is denied the needed treatment of antibiotics, fluids, and medicines, he or she is at risk of death. Jail staff should be trained in basics related to recognizing potentially deadly conditions, so that inmates aren’t subject to dying while incarcerated.

The following are among the symptoms of sepsis:

  • Sweaty or clammy skin
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever, shivering, or chills
  • Shaking
  • Extreme discomfort or pain
  • High heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased urine output

Many jail records, such as in Harris County, Texas, reveal that custodial deaths have resulted from various treatable infections, such as sepsis, swine flu, bacterial meningitis, and pancreatitis. Inmates have a right to receive medical treatment, particularly in life-or-death situations. Jail protocols in many county jails in Texas seem to need major revisions, so that inmates receive medical treatments, as needed.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Taylor County Sheriff’s Office in Abilene, Texas, Faces Second Lawsuit in a Year Related to a Custodial Death

Friday, August 25th, 2017

ABILENE TEXAS HWY 80

ABILENE TEXAS HWY 80 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week a lawsuit was filed against the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) in Abilene, Texas, in connection with the death of 31-year-old Amanda Nicole Scott. There are claims that her death was caused by missteps on the part of the jail staff. With this action, the TCSO is now facing its second lawsuit for a custodial death in one year. Cynthia Cortez is the other person whose family has filed a lawsuit. The circumstances surrounding these two women’s custodial deaths and the actions taken by the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office are allegedly very similar.

In April 2015, Cortez allegedly ingested methamphetamines in a large quantity just before being arrested by Taylor County police officers. After being admitted into the jail, she was later transmitted to the hospital. But on the way, she suffered a cardiac arrest and did not recover. The family alleges that the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office has a history of failing to help inmates suffering from medical needs.

And then  in May 2016, Scott was pulled over by police officers. The family claims that officers witnessed her swallowing a deadly quantity of meth, for the purpose of avoiding drug charges. She was arrested for driving without a driver’s license. Allegedly, Scott was obviously intoxicated by drugs. The family claims that the jail staff did not follow proper procedures that would have ensured that she had the needed screening, transportation, and treatment. At some point, an inmate allegedly reported that Scott was overdosing. The family claims that the jail failed to summon medical assistance in time for her to survive her condition.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

 

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30-year-old Stormye Murphey, an Inmate at Denton County Jail, is Found Dead and Suicide is the Suspected Cause

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

Denton County Courts Building (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Sunday, August 13, 2017, Stormye Murphey, a Caucasian female, was booked into Denton County Jail on a charge of assault causing bodily injury. The next day, she had a an alleged “medical episode” and was transported to Medical City Denton, according to Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree. On the same day, 30-year-old Murphey was released from the hospital and booked into one of the medical units in Denton County Jail. She did not have a cellmate. On Tuesday morning, August 15, during an alleged routine cell check at 11:46 a.m., a jailer discovered that Murphey was unresponsive. She was deceased, and initial evidence indicates that suicide may have been the cause. So far, the official cause of death has not been released by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. The custodial death is being investigated by the Texas Rangers (with the Texas Department of Public Safety).  The Texas Rangers frequently investigate custodial deaths or deaths at the hands of police officers.

Murphree declined to provide further details on the nature of the medical episode that led to Murphey being transported to a medical facility. He said that their decision to monitor Murphey’s medical condition is basically standard protocol.

Jail suicides have always been a concern for those affected, but the problem has been increasingly in the spotlight ever since the death of Sandra Bland in Waller County Jail in July 2015. Her encounter with a police officer that led to her incarceration and suicide three days later has been associated with growing racial tensions across the nation. Since then, there seems to be more than the usual number of ongoing investigations, changes in legislation, disciplinary actions, and lawsuits related to jail suicides in Texas.  People have the right to reasonable medical care and to be watched, if they have suicidal tendencies, under the United States Constitution.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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The Family of an Inmate who Died in Prison is Suing TDCJ

Monday, August 7th, 2017

English: C.A. Holliday Unit, a transfer unit E...

English: C.A. Holliday Unit, a transfer unit Español: Unidad C.A. Holliday Exposure: 1/3200 sec Aperture: f/5.6 Focal Length: 105 mm ISO Speed: 400 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quintero Devale Jones died in the McConnell Unit in Beeville, Texas, on July 31, 2015. There was a heat wave going on at the time, and Jones was allegedly denied access to his asthma inhaler, which he was supposed to keep on his person at all times. The inhaler had been confiscated that morning in a shakedown at the prison, and it had not been returned. The family claims that the obvious dangers of the heat inside the facility along with willful and wanton indifference of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDJC) led to Jones’ death. The parents of Jones and his minor son filed a federal wrongful death suit against TDCJ in early August 2017.

The family points out that one person died from heat stroke in a Texas prison in 2004 and two other inmates died of heat stroke while imprisoned in a Texas facility in 2011. In spite of this known danger of heat-related custodial deaths, the family claims that Jones was ignored when he called for help on the day he died.

Jones’ parents said that they have not only suffered the loss of their son but they have also been extremely distressed over the events leading to his death, including the way his asthma attack was allegedly handled by prison officials.

TDCJ has records which show that 23 inmates have died of heat stroke in the Texas prison system since 1998, and Jones’ death was not among them. According to state officials, 2012 is when the last prison death occurred in a heat-related incident.

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison of Houston recently ordered TDCJ to provide heat-sensitive inmates at Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, with relief from extreme heat. More than 70% of Texas prisons don’t have air conditioning in inmate living areas. Experts testified that temporary cooling of the prison would cost approximately $100,000. TDCJ officials claim that it is not economically feasible. They site various strategies for inmates to be able to stay cool, such as ice water being provided, the option of taking cold showers, and going to air-conditioned respite rooms.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Attorney – A Federal Judge Rules that a Prison in Rosharon, Texas, must Add Temporary Air-Conditioning for Heat-Sensitive Inmates

Friday, July 21st, 2017

BOT Complex, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Administrative Headquarters. (Source: Wikipedia)

The majority of prisons in Texas do not have air conditioning in inmate living areas, in spite of the sweltering heat in summer months. The Darrington Unit, a maximum-security prison built in 1917, is among them. It is located in Rosharon, about 30 miles southwest of Houston. There’s nothing about this particular prison to necessarily distinguish it from others, as far as the need to give relief to at-risk inmates. Regardless of that lack of distinction, on July 19, 2017, Keith Ellison, federal district judge in Houston, ordered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to provide inmates in the Pack Unit with air conditioning within 15 days. Medically sensitive inmates are housed in that part of The Darrington Unit.

The state announced that it is appealing the temporary order, which has a 90-day expiration date.

One of the considerations in the appeals court will be whether this matter should be a class-action suit applying to the entire prison system, as opposed to only those in Rosharon.

The matter is expected to go to trial. Judge Ellison said that he thinks his order will probably stand, which means permanent changes can be expected for Pack Unit inmates.

In the meantime, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made a statement saying it is unnecessary to take on the exorbitant cost of air conditioning systems and the electricity required to operate them. In addition, air conditioning is not mandated by the constitution. He expressed confidence that TDCJ is doing everything required to give adequate protection from the heat and to provide safeguards from heat-related illnesses. Fans and unlimited access to ice are among the measures that currently provide relief to prison inmates at The Darrington Unit, which some inmates say is a big improvement over 8 years ago.

In Texas prisons, research indicates that there have been 23 fatalities and hundreds of illnesses related to heat since 1998.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Bexar County (San Antonio) Jailer Allegedly Neglected Cell Check Duties Prior to Inmate Suicide

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

English: The Bexar County Courthouse in San An...

English: The Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio, TX. Taken from nearby Main Plaza. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Bexar County Sheriff’s Office detention officer was given a 10-day suspension in March 2017 because he allegedly did not properly supervise inmates in his care last year during a period when an inmate committed suicide. One inmate ended up in the wrong jail cell, and that inmate’s cellmate, 54-year-old Ricardo Gamez, hanged himself while he was alone. The man’s suicide occurred four days after he allegedly agreed to plead guilty to his third charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI). Family members said Gamez was highly distraught over the possibility of serving up to 20 years in prison. His was one of five suicides last year at the Bexar County Jail.

This suicide came shortly after it was revealed that the system for checking on inmates was flawed. According to Sheriff Javier Salazar, electronic check-ins revealed that the detention officer did a check of the area. However, Salazar says the officer failed to look into that cell in particular. There have been allegations by investigators for more than a year that jailers in Bexar County have been cutting corners.

The way it works is that detention officers walk through population areas with an electronic wand. They are supposed to do a visual check of each cell before touching the wand to the electronic signal box on the side of the individual door, signaling that the check has been done.

In mid-2016, after several custodial suicides had occurred in Bexar County Jail last year, some detention officers made allegations to investigators that other officers were not actually checking the cells. They alleged that some officers were only using the electronic system to make it look as though they did the required checks. It was after these things were revealed that Gamez took his own life.

Salazar said that his office and the District Attorney’s office are conducting re-investigations into Gamez’s death as well as other past custodial deaths.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Lubbock Police Misconduct Lawyer – Treatment of Prisoners in Lewisburg PA is Criticized in a Federal Report

Monday, July 17th, 2017

English: Central office of the Federal Bureau ...

English: Central office of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (an agency of the United States Department of Justice), 320 First St. NW, Washington, DC 20534, USA Español: La sede de la Agencia Federal de Prisiones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A July 2017 report released from the Office of the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Justice includes a review of the use of restrictive housing for inmates with mental illness by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. With harsh criticisms, the report singles out treatment of inmates with mental illness at the Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, prison in particular and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in general.

The report claims that the BOP keeps inmates who have mental illness in solitary confinement with inadequate treatment and for too long a period of time, in violation of its own policies.

The Lewisburg prison was built in 1932, and the cells are much smaller than the 80-square-foot minimum that is recommended by the American Correctional Association (ACA) for solitary confinement. The solitary confinement cells are only 58.5 square feet in Lewisburg, and prisoners are often placed there two at a time. Reporting indicates that keeping two prisoners in one small cell for up to 23 or 24 hours per day results in frequent assaults between the cellmates, leading to serious injury and sometimes death.

A nonprofit news organization that focuses on criminal justice, NPR/The Marshall Project, outlined results of an investigation they conducted last year. The report just released confirms that Lewisburg prisoners stay for years, periods of time that are much longer than BOP’s limits, as was first reported on by NPR.

Another of the laundry list of concerns regarding Lewisburg is that it is cooled with ceiling fans and is one of few facilities in the federal system that still lack air conditioning.

In response to the report, which raises numerous concerns, the acting director of the BOP has announced that the inspector general’s recommendations would be adopted and that a comprehensive review of practices at the Lewisburg prison is called for.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer El Paso – A Unique Database Details 7,000 Deaths that Occurred in Texas Legal Custody over 10 Years

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

English: William P. Clements State Office Buil...

English: William P. Clements State Office Building, which has the offices for the Texas Attorney General and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards also State Office of Adminstrative Hearings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In July 2016, Amanda Woog released a database for public access that lists all of the deaths that occurred when people were in Texas legal custody between 2005 and 2015. It was the first database of its kind. Based on painstaking research and the cooperation of the Texas attorney general’s office, Woog determined that 6,913 people died in Texas while in legal custody. This number reflects a higher rate, as compared to national trends. The significance of this kind of tool is tremendous, considering the growing nationwide awareness of the deaths of unarmed African Americans allegedly at the hands of law enforcement officials.

A wide range of different circumstances surrounded the nearly 7,000 deaths of people in legal custody. The data prepared by Woog shows that 70% of those who died were serving lengthy prison sentences, and they died of natural causes. The second most common cause of the deaths was suicide, with 11% total. Other causes included justifiable homicide at 8%, alcohol and drug intoxication at 4%, and accident injury at 2%. In many of the drug intoxication cases, people consumed large amounts of drugs as a way of trying to hide evidence when police in pursuit.

An alarming statistic that emerged from the data is that 1,900 of those who died in custody had never been convicted of a crime. In the Texas criminal justice system, the data shows that deaths can occur during pre-booking, in jail, or in prison. Woog’s website alleges that every phase of custody comes with its own challenges and risks to an individual’s well-being. The database has been updated and includes the death of Sandra Bland, who died in Waller County Jail last year and whose story has been the cause of widespread outrage.

You can see a custodial death report prepared by the Attorney General of Texas here.

–Guest Contributor

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