Harris County Jail Deaths: Families of Austin Prisoners for Texas Jail Standards Commission meeting

Houston, Texas (KTRK) – When Deborah Smith’s grandson asks when his mom will be home, she says that even though it’s hard, she has to be honest with him. She doesn’t want to give him false hope.

The 38-year-old mom will not be returning.

Deborah’s daughter, Kristan Smith, was booked into the Harris County Jail on April 27, 2022 on an aggravated assault charge.

A month later, Kristan, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, died on May 28, 2022, while in custody. Like many inmates in the prison, Christian was only charged with a crime, but not convicted.

SEE ALSO: Ex-prison officer Eric Morales becomes the first Harris Corp. to be charged with the death of an inmate

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Kristan was found “unresponsive in her bed” on May 20, 2022 and taken to a local hospital.

“We arrived and found her condition, anyone’s worst nightmare,” Deborah told 13 investigators. “She was unconscious. Both of her eyes were open. At the end they taped them.”

Eight days later, Kristan died. Her mother said she never regained consciousness.

Now, more than eight months later, Deborah still has questions about what led to her daughter’s death, and our 13 detectives have found that she’s not the only one.

Since the beginning of 2022, 31 inmates have died in the Harris County Jail.

13 detectives: 4 inmate deaths were counted at the Harris County Jail in January

Thirteen investigators have been looking at overcrowding and healthcare conditions in the prison over the past year. After speaking with family members of many prisoners who died in prison, we learned that the struggle for answers is not easy.

Deborah plans to join family members of other inmates who died in Harris County and across the state Wednesday morning at the Texas Prison Standards Commission’s first quarterly meeting to advocate for loved ones who died in prison.

“There is no way she should have lost her life due to lack of medication. Was there a confrontation maybe before the end? I don’t know at this point, but one thing, I will not stop until I get justice and change, not just for Kristan Smith, justice for all people.” who have been subjected to injustices and changes in the Harris County Jail.”

ABC13’s Pooja Lodhya is in Austin for the meeting and will be sharing our latest investigation at 10pm tonight.

We’ll be updating this story throughout the day.

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