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

Texas Jail Abuse Lawyer – A State with a High Number of Custodial Deaths in County Jails Seeks Answers by Analyzing Data and Specific Inmate Experiences

When individuals are incarcerated, they have a constitutionally protected right to be protected from harm. Yet, in one state outside of Texas, close to 2000 people died in county jails in a 14-year period ending in 2019. An analysis has shed light on various aspects of these county jails that contributed to high custodial death rates.

Most jails, according to research, depend heavily on elected sheriffs, some of which are subjected to minimal local oversight. Differences in the way jails are run in various counties become apparent by simply comparing their rates of custodial deaths.

For example, three inmates died in a single month at a county jail in 2019. The death rate came to 13 deaths per 100,000 bookings. Compared to another county jail with the same number of inmates in a 15-year time frame, the county jail with a high number of custodial deaths had two times more than the other.

Of the studies done, none have focused specifically on disparities between death rates in county jails. However, there are certain characteristics that jails with higher-than-normal death rates have in common, including the following:

  • Failure to supervise as required
  • Jail staff lacking training on crucial issues such as medical emergencies and suicide prevention
  • High numbers of complaints about inadequate medical care
  • Staff shortages

See this ongoing series to learn more information about jail conditions that contribute to custodial deaths.

In Texas, the Texas Commission on jail standards (TCJS) provides guidelines for minimum standards in Texas city and county jails. Issues such as those cited above which contribute to high rates of custodial deaths are all addressed in jail standards. Every Texas jail is routinely inspected to determine whether inmates are receiving minimum standards of care. When a jail is found to be non-compliant, the problems must be remedied. Disciplinary actions are taken if the required changes are not made.  

This post is meant as a resource for inmates and former detainees in Texas city and county jails and their families, providing information that may be helpful, particularly for those who believe that they been victims of civil rights violations. It is not intended to suggest that any entity or individual has engaged in wrongdoing of any kind.

–Guest Contributor

author avatar