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Wrongful Death and Abuse in Jail Lawyer/Attorney in Texas: Cherokee County Jail

The address of Cherokee County Jail is 272 Underwood St. in Rusk Texas 75785; and the phone number is (903) 683-2271. The inmate capacity at Cherokee County Jail is 188. The operation of the jail is the responsibility of the Cherokee County Sheriff. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) provides minimum jail standards for jails in Texas, and enforcement is achieved primarily through jail inspections, follow-up on non-compliance, and disciplinary actions when necessary.

Mental Disabilities/Suicide Prevention Plan

Among the jail standards in Texas especially designed to ensure that inmates are safe while incarcerated are those related to inmates with mental disabilities or who are potentially suicidal. Cherokee County Jail, like all county jails, must have a suicide prevention plan in place and it must be approved by the TCJS. The following are examples of the types of health services inmates must be provided with:     

  • Members of the jail staff must have training at designated frequencies and durations regarding the procedures for recognizing, supervising, documenting, and handling mentally disabled inmates and/or potentially suicidal inmates. Any staff members involved in intake screening must also have supplemental training.
  • Intake screening is an important step during the booking process at Texas county jails. It is during intake screening that inmates are identified who are known to be, observed to be, or potentially disabled mentally and/or potentially suicidal. When at-risk inmates have been identified, referrals must be made to available mental health officials as part of the intake process.

The purpose of this post is to provide information. There is no intention on any of this website’s posts to denote that any misconduct has occurred on the part of any institution or individual.

–Guest Contributor

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The Texas Commission on Jail Standards Cites San Saba County Jail for Alleged Procedural Violations Related to Suicide Prevention

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San Saba, Texas, Courthouse (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On March 1, 2018, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) released a Jail Inspection Report showing findings from a routine inspection at San Saba County Jail in San Saba, Texas. The jail was cited for four alleged violations of minimum jail standards. Three of those standards are related to jail suicide prevention, which has been the subject of recently enacted state legislation.

Per Texas jail standards, intake procedures must be in place in every county jail so that jailers can recognize when a prisoner appears to be mentally disabled or potentially suicidal. It was found by TCJS inspectors, however, that no jailers had received the required suicide prevention training in the year 2017.

When prisoners are identified as potentially suicidal or mentally disabled, a magistrate is supposed to be notified, leading to possible referrals to available mental health officials. Inspectors allege that screen forms show the magistrate has not been notified regarding prisoners who are potentially mentally ill.

Investigators also found that the bottom of suicide screening forms are not being completed by jailers, as a form of proof that the magistrate, medical, mental health, and/or supervisor have been notified.

In the summer of 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed legislation known as the Sandra Bland Act into law. The law was named after Sandra Bland, who committed suicide in Waller County Jail after being arrested following an encounter with a police officer who pulled her over for a minor traffic violation. The law provides additional protections for people who are incarcerated and may be in danger of harming themselves.

This law and basic jail guidelines are rendered ineffective if jailers don’t follow the standards they are given.

As with every post on this website, we are only providing information in this post and do not make any allegation or assertion that anyone acted inappropriately or engaged in misconduct.

–Guest Contributor

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