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Behind Bars in Texas: Heat Hot Enough to Kill You, Dangers Everywhere, and Maybe Some Pet Food on Your Tray: Texas Can’t Pay People Enough to Work In These Conditions

Here in Texas, if you are worried about being arrested or if you have been arrested, then boy howdy you better be advancing the best criminal defenses you can muster because you really, really (and we mean REALLY) don’t want to end up behind bars in a Texas jail or prison if there’s any way to avoid it.  And if you have to serve some time, then part of your negotiations better be into which facility you’re going to be placed.

Expect to Face Temperatures Over 100 Degrees If You Are Behind Bars in Texas – No A/C Provided

Why?  Well, we already wrote about the heat. It’s getting so hot in some Texas jail cells and prison units that people are becoming sick, even dying, from the high temperatures.  There’s a wrongful death suit on file (Larry McCullum’s family is suing because he passed away with a body temperature of 109 degrees in Hutchins County Jail last year) and more should follow.

Temperatures in Texas jails and prisons well over 100 degrees and inmates not getting the use of fans or air conditioning is one thing.  The heat alone is a horror story.  But that’s far from all that is going on in Texas right now.

You Never Know What You’ll Be Fed in a Texas Prison: Pet Food “Beef Trimmings” Served to Federal Inmates Last Year

This week, it was revealed that Texas inmates were served pet food – that’s right, food considered not fit for human consumption –  in a federal prison facility over in East Texas.  Seems that the food supplier had a mix-up in labeling boxes of “beef trimmings” which were supposed to be sold as pet food, and the “beef trimmings” ended up on the trays of prison inmates.  John Soules Foods is paying $392,000 in settlement of the claims against it by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Inmates Die Mysteriously in Texas Jails and Prisons

This week, guards discovered a man dead in his cell at the Bexar County Detention Center (the jail for San Antonio) and it’s still not clear why or how he died.   They’re doing an autopsy now to try and figure out what happened.

It’s not news that inmates die while behind bars:  here in Texas, there’s precedent for gang violence leading to inmate deaths as well as despondent inmates choosing suicide as a way to freedom.   Some may remember the controversy after Scot Noble Payne committed suicide in a Texas prison after writing letters to loved ones, saying goodbye and detailing the horrific conditions he had to endure:  standing water on the floor, unclean sheets/ towels, and more.   (Remember to add the heat here.)

Staff Shortages as No One Wants to Work In Texas Jails and Prisons

Conditions in Texas jails and prisons have reached a state of disgust that human beings not forced to be there will not choose to do so, even if you pay them.  The Texas Department of Justice can’t find enough people to work in prisons these days.  Conditions are bad and getting worse, according to those that are still working in the system, waiting on their retirement to kick in.

News reports are that there is a 40% turnover rate at some Texas facilities (Beeville, Beaumont, Kenedy, and Lamont are examples).

Which means that correctional officers (that’s the official job title) are now being offered a sign on bonus of $3000 just to take the job.  That’s right: the State of Texas is offering thousands of dollars to anyone who is willing to work in these places.  And, there’s close to 3000 openings – if you’re interested.

Bottom line:  anyone facing criminal charges in the State of Texas these days better have a great criminal defense in process as well as a good bail bondsman, because being behind bars in Texas right now is not the place that any human should be. Just ask any correctional officer who’s quit recently.

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