A woman said she was denied treatment as a prisoner at Tarrant Prison

Community members gather outside the Tarrant County Court of Commissioners meeting in May to demand changes to the Tarrant County Jail following the deaths of inmates in recent years, complaints of policy violations and the alleged neglect of a mentally disabled woman in April.

Group members collect exterior the Tarrant County Courtroom of Commissioners assembly in Could to demand adjustments to the Tarrant County Jail following the deaths of inmates in recent times, complaints of coverage violations and the alleged neglect of a mentally disabled girl in April.

Throughout her 10-day keep within the Tarrant County Jail, Stacey Gordon Johnson says she was not given her prescribed medicines.

She mentioned that when she left jail on July 18, she was depressed and disoriented resulting from a scarcity of remedy, some for psychiatric situations.

“I knew the place I used to be, nevertheless it was like I wasn’t actually there, like I wasn’t alive,” she instructed Star-Telegram on Thursday. “That is as a result of I have been stopping each one among my medicines.”

She introduced 15 days of remedy — 13 tablets she takes on daily basis — when she turned herself in for theft on July 8.

Gordon Johnson shared her story on the Texas Committee on Jail Requirements assembly Thursday morning in Austin and requested the group to analyze what was taking place on the Tarrant County Jail. The policy-making physique consists of 9 members who’re appointed by the Governor. They embody a decide from Longview and the mayor of Lubbock County.

Though they might not verify whether or not the inspection had begun because of the Gordon Johnson story, the spokesperson mentioned anybody may file a criticism by way of the UNHCR web site. These complaints could provoke inspection.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s workplace mentioned the medicines are administered by JPS hospital workers on the jail, not detention officers.

Gordon Johnson mentioned she determined to talk to the committee after she noticed protection within the Fort Price Star-Telegram about three girls who on Tuesday publicly requested the Tarrant County Commissioners Courtroom to analyze the jail.

One of many girls, Becky Delawon, a member of the Broadway Baptist Church’s Justice Committee, instructed the commissioners that she knew somebody who had been within the Tarrant County Jail for 4 days who had additionally not obtained his remedy. The person additionally instructed Delaun that he noticed blood on the partitions and flooring of the holding room and urine and faeces smeared on the wall.

The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Workplace responded to their feedback Wednesday in a three-page assertion despatched to the newspaper.

“Daily, the Tarrant County Jail’s detention officers take care of individuals with psychological well being points who would possibly do this stuff,” the emailed assertion in regards to the criticism of blood and feces mentioned. “As soon as that occurs, we clear it up and transfer on. However to say that these bodily fluids remained on the jail cell wall for greater than an hour is unlikely.”

Throughout her speech to the Jail Requirements Committee on Thursday, Gordon Johnson mentioned she additionally noticed blood and feces on the partitions.

“Sure, a mentally sick particular person could have accomplished it,” she mentioned, “however the different prisoners shouldn’t be pressured to take a seat with him, and they need to go to the restroom in him.” “No, the guards do not come and clear it up because the sheriff’s workplace mentioned.”

Gordon Johnson mentioned her cellmate was not ready to make use of the telephone, and Delawon mentioned her pal was not given entry to a usable telephone. The sheriff’s workplace responded to Delaune’s feedback, saying that persons are registered to make use of the telephone whereas they’re consuming.

The sheriff’s workplace mentioned that within the jail, the place inmates are housed individually in cells, the telephone is handed on to them. The press launch mentioned they might have to attend to make use of the telephone if they’re transferred, resulting from jail work or if the telephones are below restore.

One of many feedback within the Sheriff’s Workplace assertion is what prompted Gordon Johnson to drive to Austin for a jail requirements assembly.

“As you realize, the Tarrant County Commissioners Courtroom just isn’t a court docket of legislation,” the remark started. “Public remark time is an open mic and so long as somebody who desires to talk has pre-recorded, they will come as much as the rostrum and say no matter they need. They didn’t swear to inform the reality, the entire fact and nothing however the fact.”

Gordon Johnson mentioned the assertion was offensive.

“I could not consider the sheriff’s workplace mentioned we had been speaking on the rostrum saying what we wished as a result of we weren’t composed to swear the reality, the entire fact and nothing however the fact,” she instructed the Jail Requirements Group. “If I had a bible I would swear by it.”

Gordon Johnson was not one of many girls who spoke within the Courtroom of Commissioners on Tuesday.

In response to a query about Gordon Johnson’s feedback about her medicines, Tarrant County Mayor spokesman Robbie Howe mentioned that each one medicines are distributed by John Peter Smith Hospital workers who work on the jail 24/7.

“Detention officers would not have the authority to distribute medicines as a result of they aren’t medical suppliers,” he wrote in an electronic mail.

Howe directed the newspaper’s inquiries to JPS. A consultant despatched the next assertion: “JPS Well being Community supplies well being care to inmates on the Tarrant County Jail and process consists of well being screening upon personnel arrival on the facility. Resulting from affected person privateness guidelines, JPS can’t touch upon particular person medical circumstances.”

Gordon Johnson instructed the Jail Requirements Committee that she had seen different girls who had not obtained remedy, together with these with diabetes.

Not checking company correctly

Gordon Johnson additionally mentioned that wardens don’t correctly display inmates.

“The guards have a tendency not to concentrate,” she mentioned. “There’s a clicker that appears like a mobile phone they usually click on and stroll round and look within the home windows. However they simply handed by. They did not take a look at us.”

The jail has been criticized prior to now for not implementing stricter insurance policies relating to screening inmates. State testimony was misplaced in 2020 after jailers didn’t look at a person for no less than an hour. He was discovered lifeless. That very same yr, 28-year-old Javonte Myers was left lifeless in his cell for six hours.

Based on a lawsuit filed in Could, former warden Eric Jay mentioned supervisors inspired wardens to lie on their papers that checks had been accomplished correctly. Jay mentioned that in the course of the wave of deaths in prisons in 2020, together with a child secretly born in jail and a number of deaths by suicide, supervisors had been solely involved about “making the pc look good”.

Jay, together with former jailer Darren Kirk, have been fired from the sheriff’s workplace and charged with tampering with a authorities report after Sheriff Invoice Waiburn requested that they be investigated for mendacity about Myers’ verification.

This story was initially printed August 4, 2022 4:08 pm.

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Nicole Mana is an award-winning investigative reporter for Star-Telegram who focuses on felony justice. Earlier than transferring to Fort Price in July 2018, she was a reporter for newspapers in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska, and Kansas. She loves spending time together with her two canines, Obi and Oliver. You may ship information ideas and ebook strategies to nmanna@star-telegram.com or on Twitter @NicholeManna.