Today I have the joy of sharing some incredible news with you. Because of the work of TDS mitigation specialist Sam Chammings, one of our clients—an elderly woman with chronic medical conditions—has been released from a Texas prison to a nursing home.
Our client’s case is part of a new project we launched at TDS to give the mentally ill in prison a second chance. No one should be compelled to spend the rest of their life in a prison cell just because they have a mental illness. But many prisoners with mental illness are forced to do just that. One of these prisoners was our client. Charged with robbery over twenty years ago, our client was found incompetent to stand trial because of her serious, chronic mental illness. Then, year after year, prison officials decided that she was too mentally ill to go home. When Sam met our client earlier this year, she was elderly and suffered from serious health issues, including hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Our client needed an oxygen tank just to breathe. Yet, despite posing no danger to society, she remained trapped in a prison cell.
That is, until TDS joined the case, and worked with the client—in partnership with her lawyers, the judge, and the prosecutor—to create a humane, practical release plan. Because of TDS’s efforts, a judge finally released our client to a nursing home last month, where she now receives the specialized medical and mental-health care that she so desperately needs.
This case is just one example of the remarkable compassion our mitigation specialists dedicate to our clients each and every day. Sam’s work goes to the heart of why we do what we do at TDS. We strive to create a more just and humane criminal-legal system, a system free of cruelty and racism—one case, and one person, at a time.
Texas Defender Service
“We create a more just and humane criminal-legal system, a system free of cruelty and racism—one case, and one person, at a time.”