Every year people in custody die. Sometimes it is at the scene, sometimes of natural causes after years in custody, and usually of suicide. The following data explores custody deaths in the Texas Hill Country from 2005-2015 through cause of death and ethnicity by county. The data comes from an online report released by the Texas Justice Initiative. The Texas Hill Country is the region defined by the Fort Hood Sentinel for purposes of this project.
People have started questioning the manner of these deaths, specifically since the death of Sandra Bland who died in a Waller County jail on July 13, 2015. However, many of the deaths are suicide which leads to questions of the conditions and if they are being reported properly. After looking at the report it seems that many of the suicides occur before arriving at a jail and most of the remaining number happen after less than four months by hanging themselves with a sheet. The reports for justifiable homicide and suicide after being brought in are very detailed. If too many deaths occur within a period of time they are even more closely inspected, as was the case for the Bexar County Jail after they had 3 deaths in 10 days.
That is the amount of people who died in the Texas Hill Country in this time frame. Many of them were not convicted. Most spent less than a year in custody.
John Robert Henry died in May of 2007 at age 91 from natural causes. He was charged with aggrated sexual assault of a child and had been in custody since September of 2009.
Leesa Renay Ramirez died on Jan. 1, 2013 from natural causes or illness after being found on the groun while evading detention.
Travis County Jail
Both of these people were reported by Travis County. Most people who died within less than a year committed suicide, and many committed suicide the same day.
Click the button to view the form that officers must fill out when reporting the death of someonoe who died in their custody.
Typically, the number of suicides and natural causes of death go up as more white people are part of those in custody. When there are a bigger percentage of minorities in custody, the percentage of other causes of death tend to increase.
Most suicides happened while police were responding to a situation when the person would turn the gun on themselves.
According to the summaries of death, most justifiable homicides happened at the scene when the person had a gun.
To find out more about these people and a summary of how they died, use the dropdown menu to filter by county. Note: Travis county may take a while to load because they have over 600 entries. For more information on custody deaths, look at this special project, A Question of Restraint, from the Austin-American Statesman.
People Who Died:
|Name||Ethnicity||Gender||Age||Custody Date||Death Day||Cause of Death||Charge||Who Caused Death||Summary|
Emily Sharp is a Digital Media Innovations major at Texas State University. This project was created for the Coding and Data Skills for Communicators class and is her last project for her degree.