PRINCIPAL OFFICE: DALLAS, TEXAS: (214) 670-9989 | TOLL FREE: (866) 670-9989

Texas Commission on Jail Standards Issues Memo Regarding Inmates’ Right to Receive Medication

iStock 969048466
Interior of solitary confinement cell with metal bed, desk and toilet in old prison.

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS), on June 9, 2022, issued a technical assistance memorandum regarding changes to health services operation plans related to continuity of mental health medication. The TCJS adopted changes to section 273.2 of the minimum jail standards in February 24, 2022. The procedures include providing each prescription medication that a qualified medical or mental health professional determines is necessary for the treatment, care, or stabilization of an inmate with mental illness. The change requires that each county jail in Texas, regarding its health services plan, include procedures regarding providing such prescription medications.

Interestingly, the technical assistance memorandum includes the statement, “The Commission understands that this does not mean that jails must provide any medication that the prisoner was prescribed before booking but only that the jail must provide the medical and mental health medications that are determined necessary by the jail’s medical or mental health provider.” If true, this does not provide sufficient protection to people housed in our county jails.

It is vitally important that jails provide not only prescription medications to prisoners which are prescribed by jail-provided medical and/or mental health professionals, but also those prescribed before the person enters the jail. It makes little sense to stop prescription medications for an inmate whenever he or she enters a jail. Doing so can lead to serious injury or death. Moreover, despite the TCJS interpretation of that provision, the United States Constitution requires jails to provide reasonable medical care to inmates. It is our jail neglect firm’s position that it is not reasonable to fail to provide prescription medications to an inmates, just because his or her prescription was written before the person was incarcerated.

Written By: author image Dean Malone
author image Dean Malone
Dean Malone is the founder of Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a jail neglect civil rights law firm. Mr. Malone earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Dallas, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and from Baylor University School of Law with a general civil litigation concentration. Mr. Malone served in several staff positions for the Baylor Law Review, including executive editor. Mr. Malone is an experienced trial lawyer, trying a number of cases to jury verdict and also handling arbitrations through final hearing. He heads the jail neglect section of his law firm, in which lawyers litigate cases involving serious injury and death resulting from jail neglect and abuse. Lawyers frequently refer cases to Mr. Malone due to his focus on this very complicated civil rights practice area.