Just got off the phone with a client who hasn’t been able to call because the jail has been taking his money for his meds.

In jail pretrial, they won’t continue you on any medicine you were on previously. You are abruptly taken off because you aren’t allowed to take your meds.
No regard for what abrupt discontinuation of meds will do (from what I’ve seen can range from delusions, delirium, psychosis, suicidal thoughts to actual suicide.) You stay like this while waiting to see medical which can take 20 days- month(s). Longest I’ve seen was 3 months.
After seeing medical, your scripts are often changed to different brands, doses reduced, and only administered once a week. So if you were prescribed something for bipolar— you’d get your one (smaller different brand) dose once a week.
You are then billed for that visit to medical + that medicine that’s administered once a week which is deducted from any money you have in your commissary. Then whatever remains is an open bill which will be taken should your family put more money on your books.
Your commissary is the only money you can access in jail— not only is this how you call home, how you video visit during a pandemic (because in person isn’t allowed), how you get utensils, paper, etc. to write home, but also how you buy necessities that the jail doesn’t provide
Like— soap, yes you have to buy your own soap in jail. They do not provide you soap. Soap, toilet paper, shampoo, tampons, conditioner, deodorant, shower shoes (in that nasty ass shower), etc. You won’t be able to bathe or wipe your ass without your family putting in money
It’s truly messed up that someone can be detained pretrial, have their own meds that were provided by a doctor according to their needs and paid for, but because they are in jail, they have to see a medic that they have to pay for to get new meds that they have to pay for
Money aside, the horrors I have seen with this — with switch people’s meds, not giving them the needed dose, and only giving a “top off” dose once a week or once every two weeks. You see people who are TRULY mentally disabled having mental episodes because of this
I’ve had clients that by months of this abuse In court they couldn’t speak, were curled in a ball on the ground, didn’t know their name, shaking and crying, seeing things, where even the bailiffs and guards were begging me to get them out because it was so bad for them inside.
There are so many issues with this but this is also why you don’t call the police when you see someone having a mental episode. They will not be helped in jail. In fact that is absolutely one of the places that they will be made worse.
Dont expect humanity from a system that has none to give. Don’t send your mentally ill or your addicted there.
Every client I’ve had that died by suicide while incarcerated was having severe DTs due without any medical treatment whatsoever(it takes at least 20-30 to see medical)
No one should be in jail but specifically no one mentally ill should be in jail. Prison exacerbates mental illness symptoms. What I see at the beginning compared to what I see in a months time in court is shocking and heartbreaking what this system does to our mentally ill.
And anyone who knows anything about mental illness, medicine regulation, and how hard it is to achieve that... should be horrified that the system is treating people with diagnosed mental illnesses this way, people who come in with medicine or have families that drop off medicine
Only to be ignored by the jail, ignored, and medicated once every 2 weeks maybe with a different dosage — it’s the bare minimum to be able to say they are providing mental health care when ruled in before the judge at our request.
Another issue I’ve run into after clients were abruptly taken off their meds and thrown into shock is often they are not fit (physically, mentally, or psychologically) to take a plea or make any decisions in their case. More often than not, they were at initial meeting with me
But after the shock of discontinuing their meds, they aren’t any longer. Then decisions have to be made but any of these decisions all involve more time in jail, even when a credit for time served plea is on the table because they aren’t fit to take it. All due to the jail. Bs
An example of this was a client that was taking a CFTS plea, during the plea colloquy was seeing things (he told me he was) and he was obviously getting nervous, nervously looking around in horror. The judge asked him why he did what he did- he said he saw the devil
Then to explain what he meant said I see things right now you have horns. The judge convinced he was just acting up despite my objections and insistence he wasn’t, sent him back to the jail and reset for 3 months later.
When I insisted to the judge that the jail took him off his meds and this was the result, he demanded I file a sanity which at minimum takes 6 months. All this Despite having a credit for time served plea on the table where this client gets out. All this because the jail.
Either way the client was now forced to be in jail at least 3 months-6 months despite being able to leave that very day.

No one could extend him even an ounce of humanity, a crumb of empathy, nothing.
When I referenced “sanity” above I was referencing a tool used to determine whether a defendant is competent to proceed and has the capacity to understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his defense.
When these clients are taken off their meds and come into court wanting to take a plea, even with a plea on the table, the court can choose to not take the plea, and order a “sanity commission” be formed to determine whether they are competent to take the plea.
At which the court won’t accept their plea (won’t allow them to plea) and has ordered the sanity so they have to go back to jail for the 6 months (at minimum) for a sanity to be completed.
After the determination is made by the sanity, if he’s determined to be competent he can then take his plea. But by this point he’s been in jail for an extra 6 months on top of the previous 3-5 he already had. This is done so clients plea can’t be overturned later.
It’s all terribly sad. Client comes in competent, jail takes off meds and renders him less competent, longer he waits the worse it gets, gets to court after 3-4 months, judge refuses get out of jail plea because maybe incompetent, gets 6 month test, finds competent, pleas to same
Endorsement by fellow public defender:
Please take a moment to consider all of these issues would be solved if we only didn’t jail people pretrial— these horrors only happen to those who can’t afford to post bond.

We must eliminate cash bail to have a more equitable system.
I’ve tried to highlight multiple issues present in our jail system that are exacerbated for those being held in pretrial detention. Unfortunately those are only the individuals who cannot afford bail— meaning these horrors are reserved for the poor, mentally ill, and addicts
If you can allegedly commit the same crime but are able to post bail, you are spared these horrors. We are abusing our poor just for being poor, our mentally ill just for being disabled. Our system picks on the most vulnerable among us
Equity won’t exist as long as cash bail remains in place sentencing millions of people, most of them incredibly vulnerable, to be in jail pretrial and thus abused.

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More from @fodderyfodder

23 Dec
Masturbating in jail is a crime.

I’ve already griped about this but every time it comes up it gets me heated and I gotta say my piece again.

The system is so dehumanizing, you aren’t allowed to meet basic biological needs and releases in the place where you’re forced to live.
Your new home in jail is considered public and thus don’t be fooled by the term “public masturbation” — it’s all public in jail.

Most of these offenses occur in one’s cell after lights are off when a female security guard peeks around to check and sees masturbation.
The punishment varies from banned from commissary, pepper sprayed and put in solitary confinement, more time and in some cases actual prosecution + added time.
Read 8 tweets
22 Dec
Apparently a new excuse to State having ex parte convos w/ judge is “you weren’t available at the time I demanded you be present for a phone call I intended to have with the judge” per the email I just received after being notified of continuance already granted w/o my knowledge.
I can’t imagine the civil law world setting a teleconference at a time decided by one party w/o regard for other parties & proceeding w/o other parties present. THEN excuse the ex parte conversation as a result. The State gets away with some truly WILD shit in crim legal world.
I truly was walking out of court and received this email: “the trial has been continued to x date” from the prosecutor.
Read 7 tweets
21 Dec
Why the fuck cant poor people have fucking birthday cake, Maura?! Please yeet yourself into the sun
This makes me irrationally angry. What does she honestly want poor people to do? Never have a birthday cake? Stop living their poor lives?
Next time you see a poor person using their EBT for a birthday cake why don’t you offer to buy it so they don’t have to. Problem solved
Read 4 tweets
21 Dec
Friendly PSA to any pet owners with pets with anxiety— the Sentry calm collars have worked miracles for my Pete who has really terrible anxiety (I suspect in part because he’s a JRT and the other because he was abused prior to finding me).
He was on doggy Xanax for 3 yrs and now has been able to be off his meds for 3 months with little to no signs of his anxiety.

Rec’d them to my sister after her cat started displaying signs of severe anxiety (marking, aggression, bladder infections, etc) after she had a baby.
Her kitty hasn’t marked or been aggressive and she can pick him up again ❤️ after only a week of the collars.

I doubled down and have put the Adaptil pheromone diffusers as well and Pete is so much calmer and happy. Really 💯 recommend.
Read 5 tweets
21 Dec
A (new) client has been incarcerated since August without the State charging him. Today a writ of habeas was moot because they officially Charged him this morning prior to 9am.

Client was pissed and rightfully so. The laws protect the state, not the defendants liberty.
Here, the state uses the filing of a writ of habeas as a prompt that their timeline has run and they must file charges against the defendant. Because the law provides that even after the timeline has run, a state may file charges anytime before the habeas scheduled hearing
So this client was overlooked by previous defense counsel and sat in jail for four months until I filed the habeas and got a hearing. Four months without any charges filed, four months without any court date, four months just sitting...
Read 10 tweets
20 Dec
I think about this & wonder how we just glossed over this so quickly & moved on.

This homeless man was arrested for criminal trespass, a misdemeanor, for being in front of a post office. They tied a rope to his cuffs and mounted police paraded him down the street. Image
His case was dismissed by prosecutors. Because it’s a bs arrest to begin with. Any rational person wouldn’t prosecute this.

Yet when this occurred it was defended by Galveston Police, the police Union, the city of Galveston, and the chief of police. Now there’s a lawsuit—
Read 5 tweets

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