I know this is not the worst problem in the world, but my two friends are being manhandled by the “Justice system” in Texas.
She is a mother, not a drug addict. Her son has been clean for three + years but a judge is sending him to a place for rehab. It’s called Safep.
Liz is trying. It’s hard. Rent was due and she had nothing. I gave her as much as possible for rent, meds and her cell phone bill. She’s broke again.
One afternoon a few weeks ago, she gets a text:
“Client CRAIG, A payment of $313 is due when you report for the admin. hearing this month. Call me with?. Officer BRYAN”
How nice. She’s in Houston now and the hearing is in Abilene. 350 miles away. It should be obvious that she doesn’t have the money needed to get there and back (assuming she is allowed to leave).
** UPDATE 12/14/15. This was just a warning. I gave Liz 1/2 of her probation money for the month to avoid the actual hearing in Abilene**
I was going to let her tell her story here in a nice way. Trying not to make enemies. That road was just washed away.
I sent her a couple of notes with some questions I had been wondering about. I’m just going to insert them here now. I hope people look in the mirror and see how pretty they look.
FYI – Liz has a lot to say.
30. Did you forget or didn’t know that your drivers license had expired?
34. Do you have case record numbers or know where the paperwork for your traffic stop, arrest and court proceedings?
No. When I was arrested this year in late spring, and Harris County dropped my case, Taylor County decided to MTR me. They pulled my probation, stating that even though I had no charges being arrested alone was a large enough violation to keep me in jail 3-4 months. It took that much time for me to turn down 5 offers to be thrown in SAFEP before they would reinstate my probation. During this time, Sean had to take over my financial obligations along with his own and could not pay my storage space the entire time …. While an awesome friend, tried to help me catch up payments and keep up with the new storage payments when I was released … It was just too much money to catch up everything that got behind for four months that at the end of the day there was no way to hold onto it. I lost the entire contents not long ago. All I struggled to afford to purchase and be blessed with for 3 years …making 8.50 an hour cooking burgers… An entire bedroom set, including a brand new matters and boxsprings, head and footboard, large dresser with a mirror, a long foldable worktable, a highback leather desk chair, my personal paperwork that included all my court documents, and so on and so on and so on. The only items I was able to bring to Houston where what fit packed into a car.
35. What is the process when you go in for review of your probation?
A review? As in at half time when it automatically gets put in front of a judge to be dropped if you have zero violations, and followed all terms of your probation? At that time I was sitting in Taylor County Jail being violated for a case Harris County dropped the charges on. I was only served the outcome after the fact with a huge NO… Due to the MTR I was sitting in jail for.
36. Do you know the specifics that determine how you result from a probation review?
Again, I am not sure if you are asking about a half time review, or if you are asking about the thing my Harris County probation officer turned me on to do in January, after my next probation appointment or even the meeting in Abilene that the Taylor County probation officer set up due to financial back due issues? .. Back due owed from when I was sitting in Taylor County Jail this summer.
For all of them, I have no idea. They have never volunteered any official determination documentation. As far as I gather, the last two are determined upon one probation officer or supervisors opinion alone. The half time review goes in front of a judge. Apparently without any appernece or information requested from or given by me. Ironically, or in addition to, I had a privately aquired attorney in ready paid to handle me being released early from probation since May/June of 2014, at 1/3rd time. This was done to be able to accept and take a job offer in Montana to be Office Manager for a dermatologist’s new office … That had the most awesome benefits and would have been the best possible situation for me to go I to. At this time, I am still struggling to get a decent paying full time position much less one like that, where a 2nd job would be an option not a necessity. The offer was for enough pay to cover all my bills to survive, including a cheap vehicle to get to and from work, a small place to live both would be an auto deduction from my paycheck, health insurance, salary instead of hourly, my fees paid to get my drivers license back, all fees paid to be declared bankruptcy to give me the opportunity to rebuild…incidentally, I would have just a year left to qualify for credit again including a mortgage, the town in Montana is also only a day’s drive from my 20 year old son …that I have not seen in just over 4 years now …We where even invited to all, myself and both my sons, stay with the doctor and his wife at their home, with their family for the holidays and even including all skiing together again ..All their treat …and so on and so on and so on. Now Taylor County has the audacity to threaten pulling my probation (MTR), violating me, for back owed payments that where due while I was in jail this last summer. I am not positive who this makes sense to or how it makes sense. They also have had issues with my work situations and not working 40 plus hours a week because having a full time reg position is a probation stipulation. I have been threatened to be violated for that also, since the loss of the Montana position that was due to not being released from my probation to relocate AND do not consider any volunteer for or help from the drug rehab ministry applicable towards employment time. The last I heard, if you assume and even insist I am a drug felon and an addict …only because the stuff was in my car and in my sons backpack while he is inisisting I have no clue…. wouldn’t it be a better option to have me spend every mi Ute I can at and or with the ministry? On my own, even …not even court ordered?! Are they serious? Unfortunately, they are.
Plus, I thought spending time in a drug rehab automatically shortened your probation? Then I have heard many people getting as much as a year off their probation for 3 months in a live in court ordered facility .. This was a 9 month non court ordered drug rehab program, that we both graduated from and I stayed in and lives for over a year and Sean did the same for almost the entire 3 years!
37. Talk about your ordeal this year when you were arrested in someone else’s car who had drugs.
38. Talk about the medical care you got in jail.
Good grief. What medical care?? Did you know I sat through 6 days of intake because that is how long it took me to be seen by medical to get approved for prescriptions that I even had on me. THE DOCTOR WOULD NOT EVEN APPROVE ME FOR MY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE MEDS. Seriously. They put me on something for anxiety, very low grade, and they give that at lights out time then they called me every night around 2-3 am for a week to check my blood pressure and decided I did not need it.
I laid on a dirty concrete floor with only two long bench seats in the room and no beds, being served fake balo’gna and plastic cheese sandwiches and water with no cup out of a fountain at the toilet ..no soap and no shower, packed with people most the time ..so much so, that I did not get to sit on the built in concrete bench once and every person was within arms length laying down on the floor. SIX days. People get life flighted out of the wilderness for much less.
That should give a pretty good picture of any medical care.
39. Regressing. When you and Sean were in the motel room before your truck and belongings were stolen. What was
your knowledge about his drug problem at that time. Did you think he was undergoing treatment? Did you think he
stopped cold turkey? Did he tell you he was clean and didn’t have anything with him? Did you know he had drugs
By the time we were moving from Colorado to Houston everything had been brought to light about Sean’s addiction.
I knew that Sean was addicted to heroin and had been so on and off for a long time. It all started when he broke a few ribs playing hockey. He was over 18 and had his own insurance. I had NO idea what was going on … The doctor wrote him for some vicaden, but much later Sean told me he took all those and called the doctor the next am and said they hurt his stomach due to the Tylenol in it ..The doctor wrote him for 120 15 mg of roxycodone ..instant release Oxycodone ..by the end of that script, he as psychically addicted. The addiction went on from there …To the point he was seeing a pain specialist, a year later, for broken ribs. This eventually escalated to an heroin addiction.
We had discussed it at length and the struggles he had in Colorado staying clean, with all the triggers and people swamping him literally at
every turn, made his recovery difficult if not unlikely. So the plan … at least as far as he was concerned …
was to turn a page and start fresh in a new city. We talked about him going to treatment but he would always get defensive when the subject was brought up … I gathered that he was okay going to AA/NA meetings as soon as we found a place for him to attend in Houston. Directly before the move, I didn’t think to ask him if he was clean.
Honestly I assumed that he wouldn’t be dumb enough to carry drugs with him on a 1500 mile road trip, ESPECIALLY
since he didn’t have a valid drivers license and would be doing most of the driving. He never lied to me, the
subject just never was brought up … I guess its my fault, I had been so busy with moving that I wasn’t paying as
close attention to him as I should have been.
40. After you’ve been put into the police car, what happens to you?
After the mug shots and finger printing. I guess you get jail clothes. You are allowed one phone call. If you can
call Perry Mason and speak to Della Street you will probably get off. If you are a normal person in a strange
town, who do you call? IF you are down on your luck, who do you call?
Liz, how did this particular county jail treat you?
Well … thats it … you’ve answered your question. After you’ve been placed into the police car, the cop drives
you to the facility where they take pictures and run your fingerprints through their nationwide database system.
The process is different in different jails, but between the time you enter the jail and the time you’re housed
you’ll do the following things: mug shots and fingerprints, meet with a nurse for basic medical history and blood
pressure tests, “dressing in” where you get clothes and other necessities like dental care and soap. In a big
county like Harris County here in Houston, you’ll have your first court appearance before you get housed, which is where you can enter a plea, charges are formally put on you and you’ll hear about your bail amount … in a smaller facility like Taylor County, bail is already set and that first appearance wont be for a while. If you’re
just passing through a town, its certainly hard to get bail … after all, bail is a promise to appear in court on a certain day, and if you’re just passing through, that means you just have to pass right on back for court … you
don’t know anyone in town, and have no ties so its hard for a judge to accept that you’ll be back, so bail is usually higher for people from out of town. You hit the nail on the head about the bondsmen … its next to impossible to secure bail from a bondsman because they’re putting money up for bail on a person who might be hundreds of miles away the next day, which is too risky a move for most of them.
Individuals who are broke will go through that very thing. If you cannot afford bail, you do not get out of jail … its that simple.
As far as treatment … I could make this question into an entire book. The second you are arrested your rights disappear. I has mistakenly thought ..and had been told my entire life that you are innocent until proven guilty ..Good luck on that one ..Most cases never come close to that point. You take a plea to get out of jail because you either do not get bail/bond, or it is too much money or even that a bondsman will not bond you. It isn’t as if most criminals or drug addicts have any assets to put up against it, and definitely most do not have any credit left to speak of …If you are extremely fortunate you may have a family member or friend that will ..So, how many people are willing to loose their jobs, home, car, children and so on to sit in jail and wait about a year for a trial. Speedy trial? I got my first pre indictment deal over 3 months after I was arrested.