The ACLU of Texas’ lawsuit asks the court to protect individuals from being jailed for non-jailable offenses solely because they could not afford a payment. The lawsuit seeks to prohibit the police from jailing people who haven’t received a hearing or access to a lawyer. The lawsuit also highlights the starvation diet that Santa Fe feeds its prisoners and seeks a court order requiring the city to give its prisoners food meeting minimal nutritional requirements.
The magistrate judge has issued a report resolving legal questions in our clients’ favor. The judge wrote that it is unconstitutional to arrest people for failing to make payments without first giving them a hearing, and that it is unconstitutionally cruel to starve prisoners. The judge has recommended allowing our clients to move forward with their case to collect evidence of Santa Fe and Hitchcock’s debtors’ prison policies.