Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Does retaliation explain mentally ill Harris County inmate jailed amidst filth, feces?

Hard to stomach recent reports by KTRK in Houston that "A Harris County jail inmate, jailed on a marijuana charge while on probation and in need of mental health care, was left in his cell for weeks without being let out, living amid heaps of trash, swarms of bugs, and piles of his own feces." 

The Sheriff told the Houston Chronicle the episode was a one-off. But that doesn't jibe with KTRK's report that, "According to interviews with whistleblowers, many officials in the jail knew about the cell and its condition, including at least three lieutenants, one captain, one major and two chief deputies, including Chief Deputy Fred Brown, who oversees jail operations." A Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspection on Monday did not find the situation replicated.

The jail shouldn't be run that way, but the courts and defense counsel in the case may also share some blame: Terry Goodwin was arrested for marijuana possession but remained in jail for two months after his marijuana case was dismissed for reasons nobody can apparently explain, reported the Chronicle. Then "he was charged with assaulting a detention officer, a felony, by striking the jailer with his hand." He's now serving a three-year sentence in TDCJ for the assault with credit for time served.

One wonders if Goodwin's treatment, rather than reflecting general problems at the jail, resulted from retaliation by the guards and supervisors for assaulting a jailer? That scenario to me makes more sense of the facts than the notion that this was a mere oversight, especially if all those folks up the chain of command were aware of the situation. This one may require a particularly thorough housecleaning among HCSO brass if that turns out to have been the case.


rodsmith said...

so let's see if we have the time line straight.

he's arrested on a bullshit drug charge. which is dismissed. over two months later he's STILL in jail living forgotten maybe living in filth definitely. He touches a fucking kidnapper. yes I said kidnapper sorry once their legal hold on him ended. Legally he was being illegally detained. ...kidnapped. so now he's doing prison time. got to do that or he could sue the shit out of them if not bring criminal charges. What a joke.

I know you don't want to hear it scott. But shits like this need to be dealt with perminately.

Anonymous said...

Lack of training is the issue. Correctional staff should be better trained on caring for the mentally disabled. The state made too many cuts to public mental health over the last decade and failed to increase the criminal justice funding to deal with this fallout. Jailers and correctional officers need higher levels to mental health training to prevent incidents such as this one from occurring.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'm with you on more funding for mental health, 7:11, but I don't believe this was due to lack of training if management knew about it all the way up to the chief deputy running the jail. I think people knowingly ignored their training to persecute this individual, and their supervisors appear to have condoned it.

Anonymous said...

and Texas wants to spend less money in the coming fiscal years on mental health issues all ages-including children, leaving nowhere for them to get treatment unless they are actually suicidal or completely psychotic. Mental illness is not a character issue.It's as real an illness as heart disease, cancer, lupus, diabetes, and other systemic diseases.

rodsmith said...

cute but you seem to be ignoring the damn elephant in the room. The charges were dismissed. At that point legally their right to lock him up was DONE. ENDED. At that point it became an illegal detention under color of authority a FELONY. So why the fuck is he the one serving a prison sentence! for touching one of the little shits.

sorry but every gov't fuckup that knew or was involved in this shit needs only one type of training.


then it MIGHT notice I said MIGHT cause the rest to get their shit together.

if I was him they would have to put me in solitary and give me everything through a hole since every time I came near one of them I WOULD be trying to KILL THEM.

TriggerMortis said...

It's okay now. Sheriff Garcia has created a new bureau to make sure this type of incident doesn't occur again:

Everyone can relax now...

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Unknown said...

RELAX! No. Justice must happen. We will not Relax. Harris County is accountable for what happened to him and we want JUSTICE. So no we are far from Relaxing!!

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that this was retaliation. It's fairly well known that if you have the misfortune of getting locked up in Harris County you have a MUCH greater chance of being assaulted by one of the guards or staff than you do by another inmate. One of the sayings you'll hear guards telling inmates is "Motherfucker you just don't know we're gonna HIDE your dumb ass if you _____" (insert whatever that person is being threatened about).
Now by "HIDE" they mean just that, you'll be put in a single cell someplace without access to phone or anything for that reason, and your paperwork will be misplaced. That's for minor offenses if you're dealing with the wrong guard on the right day.
IF this inmate actually hit a guard, they'd without question beat his ass beyond belief and stick him someplace long enough for all his injuries and proof of the guards attack/assault against him to heal up, or in this case it sounds like, send him to TDCJ for a few years to teach him Harris County Jail's idea of due process.
This place is infested with horrible human beings dressed up as "peace officers" when in reality a majority of them (but not all) are the biggest threats to the average person's safety both in jail, and if you ever encounter on of them while they are on duty for the Sheriff's deputies. They have no fear of being disciplined or being caught because everyone in the entire chain of command acts very similar. They will say "What are you gonna do? Call the Police?" and laugh amongst themselves after they beat you like a red headed step child.