Prisons in Texas have a reputation for being uncompromising and even deadly places for those housed in them. When Hurricane Harvey hit the state in 2017, Texas inmates suffered serious deprivations, according to reports.
A report in The Nation noted inmates in prisons across the state were left in inhumane conditions without food and water.
The information was derived from 100 inmate accounts obtained by the National Lawyers Guild.
The NLG reported power outages were common and there was insufficient access to water, food, and medicine.
Inmates recounted stories of their cells flooded with water contaminated with urine and excrement.
They were reportedly unable to use toilets, take showers, or change their clothes for two weeks.
The report singled out the United States Penitentiary in Beaumont as being inaccessible for up to a month after the hurricane.
The facility is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. However, the reports were met with a wall of silence
In prisons in Texas impacted by the storm, officials declined to comment on conditions or flatly denied all claims made by prisoners about dire conditions.
Five prisons in Texas were evacuated as a record five feet of rain fell on the east coast. Hurricane Harvey in August and September was linked to more than 70 deaths and major damage to about 200,000 homes.
About 6,000 inmates were moved around the state. Authorities transferred about 600 beds into the Wallace Pack Unit. That facility was emptied a few weeks earlier after a judge blasted the conditions there as unconstitutionally hot.
Texas has about 160,000 inmates. Although five prisons were evacuated many were not. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) decided not to evacuate the Gist, Stiles and Leblanc units. The BOP decided not to evacuate their Beaumont facility, reported The Nation.
Even before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas the number of inmate deaths was a cause for concern.
A database from the Texas Justice Initiative found 6,913 people died in legal custody in Texas from 2005 to 2015.
Excessive heat at prisons in Texas is linked to the deaths of more than 20 inmates in recent years.
The dire conditions at Texas prisons mean it’s important to avoid being incarcerated whenever possible. Often people are locked up for relatively minor offenses in Texas. An experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can help you. Please contact us today.