Travis County, Austin, Texas
Mary, a disabled grandmother and human rights activist, was held in Travis County Jail from June to September, 2014. The charges against her were dropped due to lack of evidence.
In the jail, I lost tons of weight because we did not get enough food. I was extra bony and had to carry extra clothes to sit on. I had severe back pain, due to previously ruptured discs and being pushed and held on the ground when detained.
They consider solitary confinement a treatment for mental disabilities. I saw a woman with Downs Syndrome in solitary. I spent 3 weeks in some sort of psychiatric lock-down. I received no counseling, no psych care, other than being put in solitary. The caseworker only put a stamp of approval on the torture. I was thrown in the hole [solitary confinement] in suicide wear. When I was there, I was denied toilet paper, bathing, blankets and clothes for days. I spent another week there for being “snippy and sarcastic.” There were women there for taking an extra blanket.
We were watched by male guards as we bathed if we could not get the curtains up, which was often...they would stand in the center and watch the women. I complained to no avail; it was disgusting. When you take a shower in solitary you are also watched by men.
I never spoke to my court-ordered attorney. His assistant made comments like he would see me if I pled. My sister’s friend finally got me out on bail.
I am disabled, and getting any type of a job seems impossible. Many places ask if you have been arrested. I am now for all intents and purposes, homeless. I used to love Texas, love my country. But now I see it for what it is a cruel, police state that punishes people who dare and speak out. I believe with my whole being that I am not the only person this has happened to. Cops can beat and murder people of color with impunity.