Thursday, February 26th in front of the Denton County jail, close to thirty people braved the blistering cold weather to protest the removal of in-person visitation from the jail. [node:read-more:link]
Grassroots Leadership Blog
Recently, in a Montgomery County Jail, David Courtney died while under the care of the private medical corporation Correct Care Recovery Solutions. Correct Care was formerly known as GEO Care, an o
Following the death of David Courtney in December, the Texas County Commission on Jail Standards ruled that the Montgomery County facility was out of compliance. Courtney had been complaining about his health since September but was not seen by a doctor until October 31. Although Courtney was found to have died of natural causes due to complications with AIDS, the Texas County Commission on Jail Standards determined that the facility failed to administer care in a timely manner. Since then, the facility has moved to increase staffing by hiring six additional nurses and extending the doctor’s weekly hours in order to address “a personnel shortage.” In addition, officials will be monitoring medical grievances weekly and making attempts to improve the facilities current record keeping protocols. Currently, Correct Care is facing scrutiny and litigation in two other death cases; one in a Kansas facility and another in Colorado.[node:read-more:link]
Despite evidence of abuse and her status as a survivor and a pending U Visa application on file, Yolo County (CA) District Attorneys have advanced racist, anti-immigrant, and sexist tropes to paint Nan-Hui as an abuser, leading to what has been a seven-month separation of mother and child. If she is deported, this separation will become permanent.[node:read-more:link]
By guest blogger Marlon Saucedo, who recently joined our Austin staff as an intern and will be blogging at Texas Prison Bid'ness.
“It is important for you all to educate yourselves on the economy so that you know how many dollars our children are paying in college. $42 million is how much we and our families contribute to our colleges,” said Ramon Romero Jr., one of several state representatives who spoke during the event.
Much of the rally was specifically in opposition to legislative action that would repeal House Bill 1403 and Senate Bill 1528, which grant in-state tuition and a claim to residency for higher education to immigrant students, respectively.[node:read-more:link]
In the past four months, District Judge Michael Seiler of Montgomery County has been recused from hearing eight civil commitment cases due to allegations of bias. These eight cases accounted for half of the sixteen petitions in total made by defense attorneys to have him removed from proceedings. [node:read-more:link]
We are disappointed to learn that Denton is the newest Texas county to eliminate face-to-face visitation between those incarcerated at the county jail and their loved ones. Like Travis and Bastrop counties, Denton County is now forcing "visitors" to use a video visitation system provided by Dallas-based Securus Technologies which charges users up to $20 for 20 minute "visits." Consistent with reports from other counties, the system in Denton is sub-par. "It was very choppy and pixelated, and at times where it would cut off completely and say it's trying to reconnect us," said one user. Shame on Securus and Denton County for extorting those who are committed to mainting face-to-face ties with their loved ones by forcing them to pay for a system that doesn't work. If you're as angry as we are, we invite you to join us for a protest at Denton County Jail next Thursday, February 26th and to sign and share this petition to Denton County Commissioners demanding that they find a way to restore in-person visitation.
Just as we were about to pull our hair out learning of the news from Denton, our partners at the Prison Policy Initiative released this series of hilarious videos that shine a spotlight on the very complaints that we hear from those who have been forced to use video visitation services. We applaud and give thanks to those who can use humor to shed light on these disgraceful practices and feel hopeful that messages like the ones below are the keys to making the ills of video visitation something everyone can relate to.
Lauren Johnson is a native Austinite and currently serves as a board member with Conspire Theatre. Conspire does theater and creative writing with women who have been impacted by incarceration. Lauren studied business communications with the University of Phoenix and is an active member of the X-Offenders Council, as well as the Travis County Reentry Planning Council. She is committed to being a voice for the people who don't know that they have one.
Lauren can be reached at LJohnson@GrassrootsLeadership.org[node:read-more:link]
We can't wait to show you our new place
Mark your calendars for and plan to spend the evening partying with us! Stay tuned for the details on how to participate, in-person and virtually, in warming our new home and celebrating our organization's expanding work.