My Experience in Lubbock County Jail

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Date of Interaction: 2009
Police Employees Involved: Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Department, Lubbock County Jail Staff
Police Employee Contact Information: 806-775-7048

A few years ago, I was arrested for domestic assault in Lubbock, Texas. What I experienced in jail was shocking. I’m not a good writer but I want to share my story so that people will understand what goes on inside the holding cells that are intended for so-called “innocent until proven guilty” people. I was never charged with a crime. If you want to skip why I was arrested, please do so, and start reading at “WHILE IN JAIL.”

In the state of Texas, if someone calls the police claiming domestic violence, it is the law that the police must arrest someone. They have to leave with either the person complained on, or the person who called. I had been having a terrible time with my now ex-husband and should have left him LONG before I did. Long story short, I ended up running out to the car to quickly leave. He had severely beaten me once before. He followed me and when he tried to pull me out of the car, I punched him in the face, causing his lip to bleed. (In Texas, if someone is trying to assault you while you are in your car, you have the right to defend yourself, even to use deadly force.) He then ran inside and called 911. He wanted to get me back for his arrest. When the police came, I was questioned and told them I did nothing. The cop asked why my knuckles were red, and saw that I was obviously not telling the whole story. Afterwards, I tried to explain that I was simply defending myself, but it was too late. I was arrested.

WHILE IN JAIL

I was first taken to the Lubbock City Jail, where I was immediately booked. I was in a 6′ wide by 6′ deep by 10′ high (approximately) cell with two poor excuses for bunk beds. It was just a metal slab, with no mattress, and a toilet in the middle of the room. I was in there with one other girl who had shoplifted. She was very annoying and kept farting and crying that if she were in Ohio, where she is from, they would have just given her a ticket. After six hours of sitting in this place with her, we were both taken to the Lubbock County Jail.

When I got there, I had to change, etc, and then waited in a chair with about ten other women and twenty men by the staff’s desks. This was where we had to wait until a holding cell was available. It’s also where we had to wait while we were waiting to go to the bonding hearing, and to bail out. After fourteen hours, I was finally taken to a holding cell. It was one of three available for women. The cells were approximately 10′ wide by 14′ deep by 10′ high, and each had about ten women, but there were only four mats for us to share and a toilet. The water fountain did not work, so we could only drink when a meal was brought. With our meal we were given one school sized carton of milk and one dixie sized cup of lemonade. We got that three times a day and that is all we had to drink. There was also a drunk tank with one elderly woman inside. She had to be about 75 years old and was clearly senile. She kept flushing the toilet and bathing in it. She would rant and tell stories and talk to herself and scream, night and day. She clearly needed to be in a mental health facility but was instead punished with neglect and left in the drunk tank longer with each outburst. I couldn’t believe that this was really happening. Many of the girls I was in there with would engage her and scream back for her to shut up, just making it worse.

I stayed in the holding cell for another ten hours until I was finally booked and printed. After that, another twenty-two hours went by before I was taken before the judge for bonding. I was given a bond less than the mandatory minimum because I guess it was obvious I WAS indeed defending myself and shouldn’t have been there. When we were done, we returned to the cells where I remained another eight hours until I was taken into the room with the chairs to make my phone call. After four hours in there, I was taken back to the cells. I waited there again for ten hours until I was taken back into the room with chairs where I waited for my turn to leave. After sitting in the room for six and a half more hours, I was finally given my clothes and property back and released.
While in the cells, I was deprived of water. Other women who were menstruating were not given tampons. They would ask and the officers would say, “I’ll see what I can do,” every time, and every time did nothing. Eventually the girls became irate and proceeded to bitch and scream for hours while they bled on themselves. The lights, for better or worse, do not go out, so I was without darkness for the entire time. Most of the women I was in there with were either in there for drug charges or for domestic assault against their male or female partners, most of them proudly admitting their guilt to the rest of us. The elderly woman remained in the drunk tank. She was there before I got there and was still there when I left. According to women who were already on their second day when I got there, she had been there longer than they had as well. I don’t know if she ate because I don’t know how she would have in her state. I’m guessing she was drinking out of the toilet she kept bathing in, but I don’t know. It was all in all a more than three day ordeal.

After I left, I had to go across the street to the bonding agency that had bailed me out, and spent another hour in there. They charged a fee of 10% on my bond. I had to check in weekly until my case was filed as dropped. Luckily, I was not fired for missing four days of work. Being in jail is so stressful and unhealthy, so my entire body was covered with pimples by the time I got out. I can’t tell you what a great feeling it was to step into the shower and then turn off the lights and go to sleep after a few glasses of wine. (I did not go home to my now ex’s, but to my granddad’s house. That was FINALLY the last straw and I filed for divorce after that.)
Does this sound like a place for those who are “innocent until proven guilty,” or even for the guilty? The most disgusting aspect was obviously the elderly woman and as shocking as it was, I fear it is not an uncommon occurrence.

 

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