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PHOTO: JON SHAPLEY

Jailhouse Jeopardy

In a review of disciplinary actions at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle found a pattern of inmate brutalization, as well as abuse of authority and attempted cover-ups by jail guards. Court records show jailers seldom faced criminal charges even in cases where they used excessive force. The findings followed a June 2009 report by the Justice Department, which concluded after its own yearlong investigation that inmates’ constitutional protections had been violated by excessive violence and by substandard medical care that led to an “alarming” number of prisoner deaths. The Justice Department had taken no public action since then, despite records showing similar instances of unreported beatings, inmate deaths and medical neglect.

Part 1: Jailhouse jeopardy: Guards often brutalize and neglect inmates in Harris County Jail, records show — Anita Hassan and Jim Pinkerton.

Part 2: Harris County Jail considered ‘unsafe and unhealthy’ for inmates, public — James Pinkerton, Anita Hassan and Lauren Caruba

Part 3: Calls for training, better cell checks follow Harris County Jail suicides — St. John Barned-Smith

Part 4: Inmates accused, charged despite workers’ own misconduct — Anita Hassan

Part 5: Tough bail policies punish the poor and the sick, critics say — James Pinkerton and Lauren Caruba

Part 6: Wife wonders why man taken to jail, not hospital, after crash — Anita Hassan