Mom: Web portal a boon for Harris County Jail inmates, families

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There have been calls for Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia to step down in the wake of a case where an inmate was left in his cell for weeks, but one jail inmate's mom is praising Garcia for a key policy change he made because of that case.

Inmate Terry Goodwin was left in his cell living amid heaps of trash, swarms of bugs, and piles of his own feces. Garcia announced a series of policy changes in October, just days after the initial report on Goodwin by Ted Oberg Investigates.

One of those new policies is a web portal for inmate family and friends "to report any concern they may have about the care, treatment or services" being provided to someone in the jail.

Garcia said concerns raised in the emails will be promptly responded to, and Gloria White said that is 100 percent true.

"I found that it has worked excellently," said White, whose own mentally ill son has been in the jail since October 2012. "I can send an email at night and by 8am and they will call you back."

Jail detention officers "don't listen to inmates," White explained so it's important for the family members of inmates to send concerns through the web portal, whether it's about medical care or to alert staff to hot water not working.

"I'm overwhelmed at the response time," she said. "It's so quick. It's a relief for family members."

The link to the web portal can be found here.
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