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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’

A 26-year-old Prisoner Commits Suicide in Harris County Jail

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

English: Harris County 1910 Courthouse Español...

English: Harris County 1910 Courthouse Español: Palacio de Justicia de 1910 del Condado de Harris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A prisoner died at 12:06 a.m. on Friday, December 1, 2017, in Harris County Jail after hanging himself with a bed sheet. He was a mentally ill prisoner housed in the mental health ward. The records show that he was classified as having serious mental illness on a persistent basis, according to spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Jason Spencer. The Texas Rangers will investigate the custodial death; and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards will conduct a jail inspection, as well.

On Thursday night, November 30, the inmate was discovered by a detention officer who had just found that the window to the cell had been covered with a newspaper. The jail’s medical staff attempted to revive the man, and then he was transported via ambulance to St. Joseph’s Medical Center before being pronounced dead a short time later.

This is the second time in 2017 that a prisoner committed suicide in Harris County Jail. In February, Vincent Dwayne Young, age 32, hanged himself with a bed sheet. In his case, it was allegedly found that the HCSO had failed to comply with minimum jail standards. Jailers allegedly failed to have scheduled observation checks on Young, as the state requires.

In recent months, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez implemented measures intended to prevent jail suicides. Jail activists and top jail officials as well as state legislator Senator John Whitmire, D-Houston, have emphasized the seriousness of the situation in which suicides continue to occur in Texas county jails, calling on the removal of items that prisoners commonly use for that purpose. Whitemire is calling for “zero tolerance” of jail suicides.

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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Edwards County Jail in Rocksprings, Texas, is Cited for Allegedly Failing to Meet 8 Jail Standards

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Roc...

English: Rocksprings, TX. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edwards County Jail in Rocksprings, Texas, was inspected by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) and a Jail Inspection Report was released on October 23, 2017. The jail was cited by TCJS for allegedly failing to follow eight jail standards. The purpose of those standards is to ensure the safety of prisoners, staff members, and visitors.

The following are among the jail standards Edwards County Jail staff allegedly failed to meet:

  • Jailers have allegedly been failing to notify a magistrate when there is credible information on a screening form that a prisoner may have a mental illness.
  • During the screening process, screening instruments must be fully completed, and part of the purpose is to identify prisoners who have a mental disability or who are at risk for suicide. TCJS inspectors said that jailers are failing to complete the screening forms. The bottom form has consistently been left blank. In addition, a supervisor has not been notified when an inmate has reported as having a traumatic brain injury.
  • A person on the jail staff was working as a jailer, although she had not yet received a temporary jailer’s license.
  • A door to the recreation yard for prisoners housed in multiple occupancy cells works only remotely and cannot be opened with a key, which may be needed in the event of an emergency.

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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For-Profit Prison in Pennsylvania to Pay Family of Janene Wallace $7 Million, in Connection with her Suicide

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Glen Mills, PA (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

While serving 52 days of solitary confinement, 35-year-old Janene Wallace committed suicide in Delaware County Prison in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, on May 26, 2015. In November 2017 news, the for-profit, privately owned prison has agreed to pay Wallace’s family $7 million. The family sued the prison because their loved one was allegedly denied needed psychiatric treatment for her symptoms of paranoia, anxiety, and depression. The staff also allegedly mistreated Wallace, and a guard allegedly encouraged her to kill herself. In addition, the prior owner of the facility had agreed to make reforms designed to prevent future suicides.

According to authorities, Wallace used her bra to hang herself from a ventilation grate.

Some of the allegations made by the prisoner’s family were that she was denied daily medical checks as well as such essentials as towels, sheets, and blankets. They also say that one guard encouraged Wallace to choke herself, after she made a threat of suicide. The jail responded to those allegations. One of the claims of the prison is that Wallace refused mental health and medical treatment during her incarceration. This allegedly tracked with statements that her mother made about refusing mental health treatment during the years preceding incarceration.

It is common practice for individuals with known mental health issues to be arrested and imprisoned. Certain procedures to prevent custodial deaths are supposed to be followed for such prisoners, however, such as providing frequent observation, especially when there are any indications that a prisoner may potentially be suicidal.

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 Establishes a Mental Health Team to Help Prevent Prison Suicides

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

The Bexar County, Texas Courthouse located at ...

The Bexar County, Texas Courthouse located at 29.4232° -98.4937° in San Antonio, Texas, United States, designed in Romanesque Revival style, was built in 1829. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bexar County Deputy Manuel Medelin of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced on Monday, October 30, 2017, that a four-person mental health unit has been formed. It is the first such unit in the State of Texas. The purpose of the initiative is to prevent prisoner suicides from occurring in Bexar County Jail. There were five prisoner suicides in 2016, which was nearly a record high. In addition, two prisoners have killed themselves in the jail this year. Sheriff Javier Salazar said that these deaths cannot be allowed to continue happening.

The Bexar County mental health unit has been named the Detention Mental Evaluation Team. It is to consist of four seasoned deputies. Their duties will be similar to colleagues in the Bexar County Sheriff’s Mental Health Unit, which patrols the county. The team will move freely throughout the facility. The prisoners considered to be at risk for a suicide attempt will receive special attention.

The Bexar County Detention Mental Evaluation Team will begin work immediately. Harris County and El Paso County mental health units will be visited, as part of the training. The mental health units with the San Antonio Police Department will also provide training. Salazar said University Hospital officials will provide training and support, as well.

According to Salazar, the set of standard questions that prisoners are asked during the booking process is one of the problems with mental health in jails across the U.S. He said it’s inadequate and should involve follow-up. He said the Detention Mental Evaluation Team will seek out prisoners proactively and provide care on a more personal basis.

One of the members of the new mental health team, Deputy Manuel Medelin, said that prisoners with mental health issues need some empathy.

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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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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