Deadly Detention

Search our data: 53 inmates with mental concerns died in Houston-area jails over the past decade

A bag of clothes hangs by the door of a medical hold cell inside the Harris County Joint Processing Center, Jan. 3, 2023, in Houston.

The belongings of an inmate on suicide watch are stored in a bag outside of a medical hold cell inside the Harris County Joint Processing Center in Houston. Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Landing

Published Feb. 8, 2023

This post was updated March 6, 2023 with new information as autopsies have become available.

The Houston Landing examined thousands of public records to determine how many people who died from homicides, suicides and other unnatural causes in the custody of county and municipal jails across the greater Houston area over the last decade had previously exhibited mental health symptoms that were documented by court, jail or law enforcement personnel.

For its analysis, the Landing created its own database by collecting court documents, custodial death reports and police and jail records from across Texas. The Landing’s investigation found that 46 percent of the 114 individuals who died of unnatural causes in the custody of Houston-area jails had a documented mental health concern dating back to the 1980s.

Search the names and details about the deaths in our interactive table, or click on “get the data” at the bottom of the table to download our entire database for the eight counties in the Houston area.

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