Tribpedia: State Commission On Jail Standards

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 ...

Lawmakers Zero in on Jail Standards, Mental Health

Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston during a September 22 Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing
Sen. John Whitmire D-Houston during a September 22 Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing

To the better-known name of Sandra Bland — whose death by apparent suicide in the Waller County Jail this summer sparked national outrage — state Sen. John Whitmire on Tuesday linked three others with mental or emotional problems who have recently died in custody.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (second from right) and State Sen. John Whitmire (right), D-Houston, announced on Aug. 18, 2015, the creation of an interim study committee to take a closer look at jail safety.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (second from right) and State Sen. John Whitmire (right), D-Houston, announced on Aug. 18, 2015, the creation of an interim study committee to take a closer look at jail safety.

Interim Committee to Take a Closer Look at Jail Safety

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. John Whitmire on Tuesday announced the creation of an interim jail safety study committee following concerns in the wake of the hanging death of Sandra Bland and the deaths of other jail inmates.

 

DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw answers questions from State Rep. Garnet Coleman during invited testimony of the House Committee on County Affairs investigating the Sandra Bland death in Waller County on July 30, 2015.
DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw answers questions from State Rep. Garnet Coleman during invited testimony of the House Committee on County Affairs investigating the Sandra Bland death in Waller County on July 30, 2015.

McCraw Hammered at Hearing on Bland Case

State lawmakers grilled Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw on Thursday, voicing concerns about arrest procedures used by state police and pressing the agency head to explain the July 10 arrest of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged three days later in the Waller County Jail.

Waller County Jail booking video showing Sandra Bland appearing before Justice of the Peace Delores Hargrave.
Waller County Jail booking video showing Sandra Bland appearing before Justice of the Peace Delores Hargrave.

Mental Health Jail Check Failed in Bland Case

The Waller County Jail failed to complete a two-part mental health screening process as required by law during Sandra Bland's booking process, according to the state jail commission and at least one public policy group.

Hempstead resident Adrienne Holland holds a sign outside of the Waller County Jail where Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead.
Hempstead resident Adrienne Holland holds a sign outside of the Waller County Jail where Sandra Bland, 28, was found dead.

Sandra Bland Case Shows Deficiencies in Jail Oversight

Like many Texas lockups, the Waller County Jail staff had not been sufficiently trained in safeguarding suicidal or mentally ill inmates. Part of the problem is underfunding and understaffing at the state agency overseeing the network of 244 local and private jails.

E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.
E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid solution for inhalation. They have grown steadily in popularity since they were introduced in 2005.

Sheriffs Weigh Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates

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.

David Conis Jr. of Kemp, who has diabetes, is the subject of a battle over medical-care accountability at the Hendersonn County Jail.
David Conis Jr. of Kemp, who has diabetes, is the subject of a battle over medical-care accountability at the Hendersonn County Jail.

Sheriff and Judge in Battle Over Medical Care in Jail

An East Texas judge says he should be able to intervene when the jail isn't providing medical care he deems adequate. The county says the judge is overstepping the bounds of his authority.

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.