Thursday, August 07, 2008

Activists offer 'Sunset' recommendations for Commission on Jail Standards

Read recommendations regarding the Texas Commission on Jail Standards to the Sunset Advisory Commission from Bob Libal at Texas Prison Business and from the Texas Jail Project. In particular, I couldn't agree more with this suggestion from Libal:
Substantially enhance the ability of the Commission to successfully oversee jail facilities by adding at least two inspectors to Commission staff, and ehancing oversight of medical and mental health issues in jail facilities – possibly by dedicating one inspector to exclusively oversee mental health and health-related issues in jail facilities.


Anonymous said...

This is wonderful news. Now if the Lege will put something behind this bill to make it work and not just write another bill to say they have written a bill this will work.

The next project should be directed toward TDCJ and the BPP for taking paroles granted a year ago back from those who were paroled and notbe able to revoke them. Once a parole is granted, that person should be released with a month and also like other states, make the BPP hear the case either on the date set for the hearing or two weeks before the hearing. There is definintely something not right with our Legislature and TDCJ and the BPP, no one will do thier and make them stand up and let people go home. All they do is talk abour releasing more people, but when granted parole, they are being revoked more often than released. How can the BPP revoke a parole when that person has a clean record and has served the amount of time required and over what the Judge states in court?

Please look into this and draw some attention this this situation. Our Legislators write bills but put nothing behind them to make anyone responsible to get the job done and certainly don't seem to care what goes on. This smells to high heaven!!

I am not impressed at all with our Legislators and they are not working for us, but who? Anyone care to answer this question?

Anonymous said...

The legislature could provide the Commission on Jail Standards all kinds of staff but until it is given teeth, it will remain too politically sensitive to make an impact on the conditions of county jails. The agency is used by sheriffs for building kingdoms of brand new shiny jails with all the bells and whistles and staff. If the Commission makes a rare attempt to get tough with a county and the county barks back, the agency with its board (which includes 4 county officials) tuck their tails and run. "Enhancing oversight of medical and mental health issues in jail facilities" will never happen because an enhancement of Commission oversight is not popular with the counties and frankly, these folks just don't have the expertise. If they were capable of doing their job of making Texas county jails safe would the Department of Justice had to have gone in to the Dallas County Jail and would they be knocking on the door of Harris County.

Anonymous said...

Having someone oversee just the medical and psychiatric conditions of detainees especially in county jails is a wonderful idea. The public is misinformed to believe that the inmates become a burden on the tax payers, since most times if there are genuine medical problems the cases are expedited - cases dismissed, excessively speedy trials so they become the STATE's problem, or reduction of charges, etc. I know. I worked in the legal field for too many years. Remember Sheriff's are elected so they want to keep costs minimal for their re-election campaign!

Psychiatric evaluations performed by TPMHMR, at least in the case of addicts are also many times a joke. I had one fellow in jail who thought I had implanted "listening devices" in his teeth that were capable of projecting his thoughts to a list of people who's names he sent to me in a letter. TPMHMR found him competant. I have never been or worked for a I left the jail, the jailer - a rather pompous man who had been given some authority asked me how my visit went. I told him that the man suffered from meth psychosis. He then asked me when I got my "doctor's degree"? I told him that I didn't have a degree, but then you don't really need one to know crazy when you see it...just like I wasn't a proctologist but I knew an a#$hole when I saw one too. Needless to say, I'm not on good terms with that particular jail.

The Regan years did nothing for us as a nation but criminalize mental illness. When we closed the State Mental Hospitals, we started putting them in jail. They are mentally ill. Many are addicts. And yes, unfortunately they do commit crimes.

May God have mercy on us for what we have done to others.