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Attorneys Representing Dog Attack Victims Across Texas

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 ‘Waller County Jail’

A Mississippi Teen with Mental Health Issues is Jailed Without a Trial for Almost 4 Years

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

In 2012, when he was 16 years old, Tyler Haire was arrested and placed in a jail in Mississippi. Haire had a history of significant mental health issues prior to the arrest. According to an investigative report, he remained in the Calhoun County Jail in Pittsboro, Mississippi, for almost four years without ever having received a mental health evaluation or a trial. Calhoun County District Attorney Ben Creekmore says that a mental health evaluation was ordered at the time the case was opened. No evidence has been found that Haire ever received the evaluation. Haire’s mother said that he had been diagnosed with at least ten different mental health issues when he was a child, including psychotic tendencies, bipolar disorder, homicidal ideations, major depressive disorder, impulse control disorder, and anxiety disorder. Yet, in his nearly four years of incarceration, Haire was given no treatments for mental health. A psychologist did, however, declare that he was legally competent in 2016, after which Haire accepted a plea bargain and is expected to be released from the jail in 2018.

Laws in Texas have recently changed to improve the care given to individuals with mental health issues who are incarcerated in the state. The Sandra Bland Act was signed into law in 2017. It mandates that county jails divert individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues toward treatment, among other things. The law was inspired by Sandra Bland, who was jailed in Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, after a controversial arrest that followed her being pulled over by a police officer for an alleged minor traffic violation. Bland committed suicide in the jail three days later, and it was believed that the jail system failed her, since she had reportedly demonstrated evidence of mental health challenges.

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Police Misconduct Lawyer Plano, Texas – The Sandra Bland Act is Now Law, and County Jails Prepare for New Rules

Monday, June 19th, 2017

English: The Waller County Courthouse located ...

English: The Waller County Courthouse located at 29.5816° -95.7617°, Hempstead, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, a law requiring county jails to provide inmates who may have mental health problems with treatment was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The legislation is known as the Sandra Bland Act. It was named after a 28-year-old woman who was famously pulled over in Waller County for an alleged minor traffic violation, and the police officer’s dash cam captured a controversial exchange between them. They ended up in an off-camera scuffle. She was arrested for alleged assault of a police officer. Bland was discovered hanging in her jail cell three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide. After her death, it was found that she may have been suffering from various health issues, including depression.

The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Democrat Senator John Whitmire and was written by Democrat Representative Garnet Coleman. According to Coleman, in the past year in Texas county jails, 26 people have committed suicide.

The problem of jail suicide deaths is addressed in the new law. Jail employees are required to be provided with more de-escalation and mental health training. Local sheriff’s departments are now required to inform a judge within 12 hours if an individual in their custody is possibly dealing with mental disability or a mental health issue of some kind. Previously, deputies had a 3-day period in which to provide the same type of notification. In addition to quickly notifying a judge, a mental health professional must examine the individual, who may possibly be moved to a mental health facility.

In Bell County, Texas, things are in motion to ensure that the jail staff has 24-7 access to a mental health expert, which may mean the use of a teleconference. Cpt. Byron Shelton of Bell County Jail said a county jail is not the place for people in mental health crisis.

Because of the Sandra Bland Act, counties have permission to develop new programs which will place people with mental illnesses into care facilities, including many homeless individuals, which is a much better solution than putting them behind bars.

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