Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lubbock Avalanche Investigates In Custody Deaths in Underfunded Prisons

October 15, 2014

Lubbock, Texas  - Today the Lubbock Avalanche News released a report showing a high number of in custody deaths in Lubbock County and at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Montford Unit. 
According to the news report, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) had over 61 inmate deaths between 2005 and October 2014 in Lubbock County alone.  The Montford Unit is the only TDCJ prison facility located in Lubbock County and is a psychiatric treatment facility for TDCJ inmates. 
Since 2005 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice had over 1,821 in custody deaths according to a report from the Texas Attorney Generals Office.  For a complete listing of all TDCJ inmate deaths from January 1, 2005 to October 14, 2014 CLICK HERE.
According to the Lubbock Avalanche News more than 3,700 inmates died in Texas jails and prisons since 2005.  There are growing concerns about proper prison funding and training of staff when it comes to caring for the mentally disabled.  AFSCME Texas Correctional Employees is pushing for increased pre-service training of correctional staff to include over 40 hours of mental health training. 

Currently Texas correctional officers receive 200 hours of pre-service training and only 1 hour 45 minutes of that training is for managing the mentally disabled.  In 2012 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice had over 36 reported suicides according to a report from TDCJ's Emergency Action Center. 

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional officers are lacking proper training according to a  new study completed by AFSCME Texas Correctional Employees, which shows TDCJ officers receive 73 hours less training compared to the national average for state correctional officers. 

With the current mental health trends and the agency lacking proper mental health training, Federal litigation is expected to be brought against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.   




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