Jefferson County, Beaumont, Texas
Joseph and his fiancée were both arrested in August 2010. They waited over five and a half years for a trial, and though his fiancée was released, Joseph is still waiting today.
Challenges of getting released are a significant battle. The structure of the courts is more powerful and they have seemingly unlimited funds and resources. When they can’t manufacture their case – they hold you until hopefully you submit to a plea.
My bail bond amount is excessive and very oppressive. The law states that bail bond amount shouldn’t be used as an instrument of oppression. Well, my bail bond amount is one of the very reasons the facility is keeping me housed in maximum security. And such a bail bond amount totally displaces the presumption of innocence.
Maximum security conditions are harsh -- 23, sometimes 24 hour lockdown. There is no real access to the law library, and inmates are constantly subjected to wear heavy metal shackles.
My five year detention awaiting trial has had a great impact on my family. Being in jail has been just as much a challenge for them as it has been for us. Honestly speaking, I believe that our family has been bearing most of the challenge by visiting us, making our court appearances, seeing to our kids, helping with homework, etc. My family has been our backbone, and a pillar of strength during this time. I thank God continually for my family.
I considered pleading out even though I am (we are) innocent, just to get [my fiancée] Ebony back home to our kids.
After probably two years of being detained in the jail’s maximum security lockdown dorm, I was diagnosed with the chronic condition called “hypertension” (high blood pressure.) I never had high blood pressure before, but I’m sure the environment and unhealthy food plays a big role. I used to eat very healthy under a vegan, low-sugar intake diet, and I’m athletic, working out at least 5 days a week under a cross-trainer fitness guideline. I honestly believe the chronic condition arose from the lack of intense cardio activity due to the maximum security lockdown. Also the food is nutritionally inadequate, and even the food sold on commissary is loaded with sodium, excessive sugars, and very unhealthy.
The medical staff here is wantonly inadequate. They try to give everyone the same cheap meds, and everybody’s body is different.
After being held for 5 years, and still being held as pretrial detainees, I vow to do everything in my power to fight for a fair and just system.