ACLU Calls For Transparency In Death of Jesse Jacobs in Galveston Jail
(HOUSTON, TX) —On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Matt Simpson, called for Sheriff Henry Trochessett, of the Galveston Sheriff’s Department to be ‘transparent’ referring to requests to release information surrounding Jesse C. Jacobs, a 32 year old mans death while in custody of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department (G.C.S.D.)
Simpson, a policy strategist for the ACLU and advocates for civil rights and civil liberties also works with local campaigns related to criminal justice reform, such as prison and jail policy, and law enforcement information sharing.
Documents obtained by About Magazine describe the official housing assignments while Jacobs was in custody in minimal detail. Leaving more questions of what really happened behind the walls of the Galveston County Jail.
|MARCH 6, 2015 BOOKED INTO THE JAIL AND ASSIGNED HOUSING IN GENERAL POPULATION.
|MARCH 7-9 2015- NO RECORDS OF JACOBS LOCATION
|MARCH 10, 2015- JACOBS TRANSFERRED TO MEDICAL
|MARCH 11, 2015- NO RECORDS OF JACOBS LOCATION
|MARCH 12, 2015 JACOBS TRANSFERRED TO MEDICAL THEN TO UTMB
About Magazine and KTRK-13 obtained an exclusive copy of the In-Take form. The form describes Jacobs’s medical needs for Xanax. The intake form’s purpose is to bring awareness to information for the Sheriff’s department. Galveston Sheriffs office was aware of Jacob’s need for certain medications. Instead the Sheriff’s office opted for their own medical plan.
“Most county jails have a formulary that they use to prescribe drugs” Simpson explains. “And almost off of them do not include Xanax.” He says.
“The thought that he (Jacobs) was taken to University of Texas – Medical Branch after he was unresponsive, this absolutely should not have happened.” Simpson tells About Magazine referring to the days leading up to Jacob’s death. “He was in custody, how was it so late in the game, that he got to UTMB?” The family and supporters of Jacobs hope the answers to their concerns are in the information the Sheriff will not release implying his blanket refusal is covering something up.
Using the term ‘investigation’ as a pretext to not releasing the information is very standard Simpson explained. “It sounds like the Sheriff (Trochessett) was negligent and should be sued.”
The Galveston Co. District Attorney , Jack Roady, informed About Magazine on Monday, that the district attorney’s office is reviewing the ‘Jacobs’ case. “The Sheriff’s Office conducted its investigation then referred the matter to our office.” Roady stated. Unlike officials in the Sandra Bland case, the D.A. stated; “since it is under review, we will not be releasing any details until after a thorough investigation has been completed.”
“The Sheriff has every right to intervene when there is a medical condition, and he should have before this young man’s cardiac arrest occurred.” Simpson said referring to the seizures Jacobs was enduring.
Roselee Baily of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) concluded on April 17, 2015 that no violation(s) had occurred after a ‘review’ of the allegations with the jail staff. The letter does not mention any investigation had occurred. A request for a copy of that report was denied.
In a standard letter sent to the Jacobs family, the TCJS states ‘the policy of the TCJS is to ‘not question the professional opinion of medical personnel.’ It suggests speaking with the jail medical staff should they ‘feel’ the treatment was not appropriate.
About Magazine obtained Inspection Reports of the Galveston Jail, on April 21, 2015,that occurred less than one month after Jacobs’s death. The report does not indicate violations within the jail’s medical department nor a consultation with medical staff relating to the death.
The official TCJS report does cite that ‘Galveston jailers were not consistently documenting their face-to-face observations of inmates confined in special areas.’ Indicating jailers were not checking on inmates in the Medical unit as directed.
In 2014 the Texas Commission on Jail Standards received 1,694 written complaints, medical services constituted for 56% of those complaints.
“A part of this is familiar to us (ACLU) is jails often fail to identify with withdraw symptoms, and it can de deadly.” Simpson explains. “We are not talking about people on heroin; everyone knows that can be deadly to withdraw from.”