American jails have never been applauded for the quality of their facilities, but over the past year, the sometimes inhumane conditions in Texas jails have been illuminated. The Covid-19 pandemic and extreme winter weather this year made it clear that the state doesn’t have an adequate infrastructure to house incarcerated individuals under inclement circumstances. Overcrowding and lack of sanitation equipment allowed the Coronavirus to run rampant through detention centers. Winter Storm Uri left inmates shivering in their cells without enough blankets to go around.
Overcrowded Texas Jails and Unsanitary Conditions
Social distancing has not been a priority for Texas jails. In fact, it hasn’t even been possible due to extreme overcrowding. In some counties, new inmates weren’t able to quarantine even after exposure to COVID-19. Even inmates awaiting their conviction were subject to these conditions if they weren’t able to make bail. Officers also didn’t have to give inmates hand sanitizer or masks.
Due to COVID-19, many jury trials were postponed and kept getting pushed back. People had no way of telling how long they would be incarcerated if they didn’t pay for bail. Many incarcerated people hadn’t been convicted yet. This was unfortunate because many people don’t have the money to pay the full bail amount upfront. People who are innocent until proven guilty were stuck behind bars. Six inmates and two employees died from the virus in a Houston jail.
Winter Storm Uri and the Unpredictable Cold
In February 2021, Texas faced the North American winter storm known as Winter Storm Uri. Texas jails were completely unprepared for this weather event. There were no heating units in jails and the cold was seeping in through broken windows and holes in the walls. Inmates were so cold that their bodies were numb. The storm caused power outages, and unflushed toilets stank up the inmates’ cells. With the climate changing, the weather has become even more unpredictable.
Extreme Heat Within Jails in Texas
100 degrees Fahrenheit is common weather throughout the summers in Texas. People even say that you can fry eggs on the sidewalk. Jails are no exception to the heat. In fact, it is not uncommon for jails to reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Imagine trying to get the attention of an officer to ask for a single water bottle or fighting with other inmates who are aggravated by the heat. Air conditioning is a luxury not provided to inmates. These conditions can be deadly, even if it is just for a couple of days or months.
ABC Offers Fast Houston Bail Bonds
Conditions in jail can be unsafe and unsanitary, and we want you to spend as little time there as possible. ABC Bail Bonds will give you a chance to bail out of jail and return to the safety of your home. We offer payment plans to ensure that you can afford to get out of jail fast. Get in touch with us today to discuss your options for securing a bail bond.