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The mission of Texas Jail Project is to empower incarcerated people in county jails by lifting their voices through stories, testimonies, and community building. We hold jails as well as the entire criminal punishment system accountable—informing the public and lawmakers about civil rights violations, structural racism, and the punitive attitudes underlying the mistreatment and medical neglect inside Texas county jails. 

Our Values








Our Work

Current county jail procedures are devastating the lives and mental health of people who are confined,  most of whom are pretrial (not yet convicted) and many of whom are held for low-level, non-violent offenses. We seek to

  • ensure humane treatment and adequate health care for the approximately 65,000 people—mothers, fathers, brothers, sons, sisters, daughters, and friends—who are incarcerated in Texas county jails on any given day;
  • provide information, strategies and solutions to families and friends of loved ones who are enduring neglect and poor medical care in county jails;
  • give voice to people in jail and their loved ones, to ensure that their humanity is respected and their problems recognized;
  • to make sure that staff receives appropriate support and training and that officers and officials are held accountable;
  • write articles, contribute to news reports, raise awareness and support positive action from lawmakers, the media, and state agencies like the Texas Commission on Jail Standards

TJP has also worked with the  Texas Appleseed, Texas ACLU, Hogg Foundation, Grassroots Leadership, NAMI Texas, Texas Civil Rights Project, the Texas Justice Initiative, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Afiya, Catholic Conference of Texas and   as well as national groups such as the Civil Rights Corps,  Marshall Project, the podcast 70 Million, MomsRising, Trans Pride Initiative, the Rebecca Project, Lamda Legal, the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, in support of investigations of conditions of confinement.

TJP’s director and volunteers collect information by:

  • attending the quarterly meetings and workshops of the Texas Commission for Jail Standards
  • speaking with those confined in our county jails as well as with their family members
  • soliciting first person accounts and stories for  “Stories” or for Jailhouse Stories: Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas
  • speaking with jailers, medical staff and administrators of county jails
  • engaging in dialogue with volunteeers and administrators of non-profits and church groups who also work to improve conditions and facilitate programs in jails, especially for women.

TJP’s website, which received more than 104,000 visitors in 2017, provides a wide range of essential information for families navigating the criminal justice system:

  • a link to the online form where people can report on conditions and ask questions
  • a medical release form with directions so families can obtain and give information about their loved one
  • a habeas corpus form for attorneys to petition the court to transfer a person who has been declared incompetent to stand trial to a hospital or medical facility
  • directions on steps a family can take to advocate for a loved one incarcerated while experiencing mental illness.
  • tips on visitation and contact information for jails
  • lists of other resources, organizations and government agencies that may help families of incarcerated people



The Texas Jail Project provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) Texas Jail Project and its staff are not engaged in providing legal advice and 3) that the information is of a general character. This is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. While every effort is made to ensure that content is complete, accurate and timely, Texas Jail Project cannot guarantee the accuracy and totality of the information contained in this publication and assumes no legal responsibility for loss or damages resulting from the use of this content. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather legal advice from retained legal counsel should be sought.