Tribpedia: State Commission On Jail Standards

Tribpedia

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards is a state regulatory agency responsible for enforcing jail conditions at local jails in the state. It sets rules establishishing minimum standards for the construction and operation of jails and inspects them for compliance.

Created in 1975 by the Texas Legislature, the commission's authority has expanded over the years to include county, municipal ...

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Sheriffs Weigh Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates

While traditional cigarettes are banned from most jails, vendors of e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation, see a big market in Texas.
While traditional cigarettes are banned from most jails, vendors of e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation, see a big market in Texas.

In Texas, very few jails allow electronic cigarettes, but some say that could change as sheriffs begin to warm up to the smokeless technology as a way to supplement revenue and help inmates suffering from withdrawal. Vendors of e-cigarettes, which vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation, see a big market in Texas jails, which have a combined capacity of about 95,000.

Interactive: Jailed Immigrants by the Numbers

A state law passed in 2011 requires Texas jails to report monthly estimates of the cost to house undocumented immigrants. This interactive table shows the total number of immigrants housed and the cost to each county from October 2011 to September 2013.

At a Texas Civil Rights Project press conference, Shirley Appell, center, the mother of Shawn Appell, argues that jailers in Llano County are responsible for her son's death. She is seeking civil damages.
At a Texas Civil Rights Project press conference, Shirley Appell, center, the mother of Shawn Appell, argues that jailers in Llano County are responsible for her son's death. She is seeking civil damages.

Llano County Jail Death Prompts Lawsuit

A woman who has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against administrators with the Llano County Jail says they neglected her son, who died last year. An attorney for the administrators has said they have done nothing wrong.

53-year-old Acy Williams checks that he has all of his belongings shortly after being released from the Harris County Jail on Thursday, August 11, 2011. Williams, who often sleeps on the Houston streets, wandered around the blocks surrounding the jail waiting for his girlfriend to be released.
53-year-old Acy Williams checks that he has all of his belongings shortly after being released from the Harris County Jail on Thursday, August 11, 2011. Williams, who often sleeps on the Houston streets, wandered around the blocks surrounding the jail waiting for his girlfriend to be released.

Despite Risks, County Lockups Continue Late Releases

County jail inmates are often released in the dark of night with little or no money and no transportation. Despite tragic stories of death and assaults, lawmakers this year failed to approve legislation that would require releases during daylight hours. 

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 8/1/11

Aguilar on the denial of asylum petitions by border judges, Galbraith on the history of wind, Grissom talks to the head of the Jail Standards Commission, Hamilton on plans for the state's new online university, Murphy and Ramsey on political warchests at midyear, Philpott on Texas' trucker shortage, Ramsey talks data privacy and abortion with Susan Combs, Ramshaw on the Rick Perry's experimental adult stem cell procedure, Root on the response to The Response, M. Smith on the country's could-be next first lady and Tan on a few of the ways Texas will change on Sept. 1: The best of our best content from Aug. 1 to 5, 2011.

Left to right: Officer Mario Martinez, Sergeant R. Richman and officer L. Lyons on duty.
Left to right: Officer Mario Martinez, Sergeant R. Richman and officer L. Lyons on duty.

Plan to Merge Agencies Worries Texas Safety Officials

A money-saving proposal to combine state agencies that oversee police and firefighter training and local jail operations has public safety officials statewide worried about their future.

Amy Lynn Cowling's mother, Vicki Bankhead, talks about the death of her daughter in the office of the family's attorney, Jarom Tefteller.
Amy Lynn Cowling's mother, Vicki Bankhead, talks about the death of her daughter in the office of the family's attorney, Jarom Tefteller.

Woman's Death One of Many in Troubled Texas Jail

Amy Lynn Cowling's death is just the most recent at the Gregg County Jail in Longview. Interviews and public documents reveal a troubled facility, where the staff turnover rate is unusually high and inmates report shoddy medical care. 

A TT Interview With Prisons Expert Michele Deitch

The jail conditions expert and professor at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs on why maintaining treatment programs that keep offenders in their communities and reducing some of the harsh, long-term jail sentences often doled out in Texas' notoriously tough criminal justice system could be more cost-efficient and allow Texas to close prisons.

Hundreds Die of Illnesses in County Jails

More than 280 inmates in county jails died from illnesses while in custody over a four-and-a-half-year period, according to data provided by the Texas attorney general and analyzed by The Texas Tribune. Many died of heart conditions, some of cancer or liver and kidney problems and others of afflictions ranging from AIDS to seizure disorders and pneumonia. There are no state standards for health care in county jails, but criminal justice advocates and correctional facility experts say the large number of illness-related deaths prove they're needed.