Houston’s Harris County Jail is a dangerous place for both inmates and jailers. Inmates assault staff about once each day, and guards also report using force against inmates almost daily, the Houston Chronicle reports. Misuse of force by staff against inmates is prevalent and hard to prove, especially when jail staff file charges against inmates in altercations during which their own actions have been called into question. Between 2009 and May of this year, the Harris County Sheriff’s office has pursued charges more than 900 times against inmates for harassment, assault and other crimes against public servants stemming from incidents within the jail, according to court records.
With the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division continuing a review of excessive force by jail staff and pursuing an “ongoing law enforcement proceeding” in the jail, the Chronicle found that jail staff members have been disciplined in more than 120 incidents for misuse of force and other abuses of authority since 2009. Several of those disciplined have been involved in dozens of inmate prosecutions.