Texas has a long history of violating the civil rights of prisoners and arrestees. If you or a family member has been a victim, you can sue for compensation and contribute to reform a faulty jail and prison system.
In the ranking of states with the largest number of police killings over the last five years, Texas is only second to California.
When it comes to prison sexual abuse, the Lone Star State has been called the “prison rape capital of the US.” In spite of many attempts to reform the system, Texas prisons, jails, and juvenile detention centers remain among the deadliest in the country.
Under Texas’ Inmate Welfare Provisions, inmates have rights, including the right to receive adequate medical care, nutritious food, to spend time outside and exercise, to be free from excessive force and abuse, and to freely express their complaints about misconduct by prison staff.
Unfortunately, those rights are routinely violated. Our Texas jail death and injury attorneys have a track record of securing sizable settlements and verdicts in cases of inmate death, abuse, and neglect in various Texas jails. Aided by our team of investigators well-connected in Texas’ prison system, our civil rights advocates have developed proven strategies to get to the bottom of any inmate death investigation and sue for financial compensation to hold the culprits accountable.
Victims Learn Your Rights. Take the First Step and Call 866.836.4684
Or Connect Online
Texas’ Deadly Prisons
6,913 inmates and arrestees have died in custody in Texas between 2005 and 2015. 1,900 of them had not even been charged with a crime. About 30% of them were black, in a state with a 12% of black population.
From suicide to murder by other inmates or guards and drug overdoses, the causes of inmate death in Texas are varied, but the vast majority have one thing in common: they reveal patterns of civil rights violations in one of America’s least safe states for inmates.
Prison Neglect and Guards Tampering with Evidence
The case of prisoners who died of heat strokes at Gurney Unit, a Texas prison, illustrates the dramatic circumstances inmates and their families often have to endure in the state.
Between 2011 and 2012, three inmates died of heat stroke at Gurney.
Documentation proving top officials were aware of the risks involved in keeping prisoners in un-air conditioned units was destroyed by prison staff. The documents included inmate complaint filings and inspection records which could prove officials did not do everything in their power to prevent inmate deaths.
Prison Rape Capital
Of approximately 400 cases of rape and sexual assault by Texas prison staff referred to prosecutors since the year 2000, only half have been pursued. Only 9 in 126 workers convicted of sex crimes were actually sent to jail.
Others only faced fines under $ 4,000 and short periods of probation under a special system that allowed them to keep a clean criminal record. .
Worst Texas Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Detention Centers
Polunsky Unit: Infamous as one of the worst prisons in the nation, Polunsky Unit specifically houses especially violent inmates, including those on death row. People in solitary routinely spend 22 hours per day inside their cells. A Mother Jones report from 2013 revealed there were 300 prisoners in solitary confinement, which reporters described as being in a “concrete tomb,” with no contact with other inmates or visits whatsoever. In that scenario, suicide is also rampant.
A former death row inmate has shared his experience of Polunsky solitary, “I had no television, no telephone, and most importantly, I had no physical contact with another human being for at least 10 of the 18 years I was incarcerated.”
Reeves County Detention Complex: Known for the deplorable condition inmates are kept in, the facility was designed to house non-violent illegal immigrants. Inmates who failed to receive medical treatment have died there, including a man who had seizures and received no treatment for them. This originated a series of riots. Reeves is one of the largest private prisons in the nation.
Huntsville Unit: Once home to Wild West outlaws, this is the place where 300 inmates met their death in the Huntsville electric chair during the first half of the 20th century.
Montford Unit: A violent prison that has been known to house famous serial killers.
United States Penitentiary - Jefferson County (Beaumont): Numerous premeditated murders and so-called cage fights make this facility one of the most dangerous in the whole country.
Lyle B. Medlock Youth Treatment Center: Extensive civil rights violations have recently come to light about this youth correctional. Some Young men being held there have spent over a whole year without being allowed outdoors more than a couple of times. Substandard conditions at the facility, including being forced to share mattresses on the floor, have consistently prompted extensive sexual contact among detained teens.
Dangerous Texas facilities for women, where sex crimes, abuse, and neglect are the norm include Mountain View, Gatesville, and Hobby Unit.
Are you a Victim of Texas’ prison abuse? You can sue. 866.836.4684
Or Connect Online
Texas Jail Death and Injury Lawsuits Lead to Multi-Million Dollar Settlements and System Reform
Your loved ones may not have died in vain. These stories prove that there is hope. Our jail death specialists are passionate civil rights advocates, who seize every opportunity to expose Texas’ failing prison system, maximize compensation for victims’ families, and influence policy.
Recent lawsuits and settlements include:
Woman Appears Hanged in Waller County Jail after Racially-Biased Arrest: $1.9 Million Settlement, Better Inmate Monitoring and More Medical Staff
In September 2016, the estate of Sandra Bland reached a $1.9 million settlement agreement with Waller County Jail and the Texas Dept. of Public Safety. 28-year-old Bland, who was an African American, had been pulled over on a traffic violation during a rally against police violence.
Likely on account of a racial bias, the arresting officer charged her with assault. Three days after being booked into Waller County Jail, she was found dead, with a trash bag around her neck.
As part of the settlement, the county jail has agreed to increase staff training and inmate monitoring, and to have an emergency medical professional available at all times. From the beginning, Bland’s mother had been committed to including reform measures in the agreement.
An image capture from a police camera showed officer Brian Encinia pointing a taser at Bland as he ordered her out of her car. Her family is still uncertain about the autopsy report that ruled her death a suicide.
Gregg County Jail Withdrawal Death: $1.56 Million, Guards Fired, and Medical Staff Added
In 2010, 33-year-old Amy Lynn Cowling was booked into Gregg County Jail after being arrested on misdemeanor charges. She died only hours after being taken into custody.
Cowling had a prescription for methadone and Xanax. In spite of several requests from her mother and other prisoners, she was denied the drugs and died as a result of seizures caused by withdrawal. She was in solitary confinement at the time of her death.
In April 2015, Gregg County settled a civil rights lawsuit filed by Cowling´s estate for the amount of $1.56 million, which were put into various funds for her three children.
A sheriff´s investigation found that various guards had manipulated records of their monitoring of Cowling. Following the probe, two guards faced charges of tampering with a government record, four others were fired, and one resigned.
The case succeeded in enacting change at Gregg County Jail: mandatory nurse visits have gone from zero to two per week, and two healthcare professionals have been added to the facility’s staff.
Appeals Court Upheld $40+ Million Wrongful Death Verdict, Inmate Murder at Willacy County Jail
A few years back, an appeals court upheld a verdict awarding $47.5 million to the estate of Gregorio De la Rosa Jr., A National Guard veteran. De la Rosa had been taken into custody over possession of an insignificant amount of illegal substances and was scheduled for release in a few days at the time when two other inmates beat him to death with a sock containing a padlock.
The prison contractor Wackenhut/GEO was held accountable for their “lack of care for De la Rosa” according to court documents. Among other instances of negligence, the murdering inmates had not been searched for weapons.
The jury determined that 25% of the settlement should fall upon the shoulders of a negligent warden and the rest should be paid by Wackenhut.
Your Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit May Expire. Act Now to Maximize Compensation and Bring Reform to Texas Prisons
You have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. But local prison staff have a lengthy track record of tampering with evidence in in-custody death cases, therefore, it is key to consult with one of our attorneys and file a wrongful death lawsuit as soon as possible, in order to maximize your chances of learning what truly happened and maximize compensation.
Take the First Step and Learn Your Rights 866.836.4684
Or Connect Online