Harris County is under fire this week as the toll of people passing in their custody has risen above 30 within the last year. Harris county is the largest detention center in Texas and the third-largest nationwide. After years of controversy, activists have begun to rally and seek answers for what has been going on.
This morning, Ben Crump held a press conference where he called for the Department of Justice to look into the various incidents at Harris County. Last year, the county seen 28 people perish, with additional families losing loved ones this year. One family lost two people. Crump is currently representing Jacoby Pillar, Kevin Smith, and Kristan Smith.
“We’re here to ring the alarm because it is appalling that you would have 32 detainees [pass] in a 14-month period,” Crump told the crowd. On average, that’s an average of two casualties a month. Crump says he cannot think of a justifiable reason for this. The press conference was to announce their formal request to the Justice Department to look into the facility. The causes of each person’s cause of passing range, with Kristan succumbing to complications with her diabetes after officers ignored her request for medication. Kristan was found unresponsive in her cell.
Overcrowding and poor health care seem to be a theme for most individuals. Evan Lee’s mother told the local news that she never found out how her son passed and was only informed that something was wrong with him days after he was in the hospital with reported head trauma.
For the families represented by Crump, the hope is that another family does not have to suffer the same fate. “The system is broken all the way around,” Kristan’s mother said. “It’s a sad thing that a lot of innocent people have lost their lives.”