Plaintiffs at Wallace Pack Unit, a Texas prison for the elderly and infirm, filed for improved conditions. The district court, finding that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits and that in the absence of a preliminary injunction the plaintiffs would face a high risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, granted a preliminary injunction. The court enjoined the defendants to improve a host of conditions in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19. However, the Fifth Circuit subsequently stayed the injunction and the Supreme Court declined to vacate the stay.
Valentine v. Collier, No. 4:20-cv-01115 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 16, 2020)
Criminal (State Charges)
Improved Conditions, Preliminary Injunction (PI), Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
Type of Court
Federal District Court
Type of Case
Elderly, Post-Conviction Detention [jail or prison], Pre-Existing Health Conditions
Compassionate Release Case
Case Tracking Number
MORE CASE INFORMATION
Place of Incarceration
Name of Facility
Wallace Pack Unit
Eighth Amendment - Deliberate Indifference
Other, 18 U.S.C. § 3626, Fed. R. Civ. P. 65
Decision Made But Case Still Pending
Improved Conditions Ordered
Provide Plaintiffs and the class members with unrestricted access to hand soap and disposable hand towels to facilitate handwashing. Provide Plaintiffs and the class members with access to hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol in the housing areas, cafeteria, clinic, commissary line, pill line, and laundry exchange. Provide Plaintiffs and the class members with access to tissues, or if tissues are not available, additional toilet paper above their normal allotment. Provide cleaning supplies for each housing area, including bleach-based cleaning agents and CDC-recommended disinfectants in sufficient quantities to facilitate frequent cleaning, including in quantities sufficient for each inmate to clean and disinfect the floor and all surfaces of his own housing cubicle, and provide new gloves and masks for each inmate during each time they are cleaning or performing janitorial services. Provide all inmates and staff members with masks. If TDCJ chooses to provide inmates with cotton masks, such masks must be laundered regularly. Require common surfaces in housing areas, bathrooms, and the dining hall to be cleaned every thirty minutes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. with bleach-based cleaning agents, including table tops, telephones, door handles, and restroom fixtures. Increase regular cleaning and disinfecting of all common areas and surfaces, including common-use items such as television controls, books, and gym and sports equipment. Institute a prohibition on new prisoners entering the Pack Unit for the duration of the pandemic. In the alternative, test all new prisoners entering the Pack Unit for COVID-19 or place all new prisoners in quarantine for 14 days if no COVID-19 tests are available. Limit transportation of Pack Unit inmates out of the prison to transportation involving immediately necessary medical appointments and release from custody. For transportation necessary for prisoners to receive medical treatment or be released, CDC-recommended social distancing requirements should be strictly enforced in TDCJ buses and vans. Post signage and information in common areas that provides: (i) general updates and information about the COVID-19 pandemic; (ii) information on how inmates can protect themselves from contracting COVID-19; and (iii) instructions on how to properly wash hands. Among other locations, all signage must be posted in every housing area and above every sink. Educate inmates on the COVID-19 pandemic by providing information about the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 transmission, and how to protect oneself from COVID-19. A TDCJ staff person must give an oral presentation or show an educational video with the above-listed information to all inmates, and give all inmates an opportunity to ask questions. Inmates should be provided physical handouts containing COVID-19 educational information, such as the CDC’s “Share Facts About COVID-19” fact sheet already in TDCJ’s possession. TDCJ must also orally inform all inmates that co-pays for medical treatment are suspended for the duration of the pandemic, and encourage all inmates to seek treatment if they are feeling ill. TDCJ must, within three (3) days, provide the Plaintiffs and the Court with a detailed plan to test all Pack Unit inmates for COVID-19, prioritizing those who are members of Dorm A and of vulnerable populations that are the most at-risk for serious illness or death from exposure to COVID-19. For any inmates who test positive, TDCJ shall provide a plan to quarantine them while minimizing their exposure to inmates who test negative. TDCJ must also provide a plan for testing all staff who will continue to enter the Pack Unit, and for any staff that test positive, provide a plan for minimizing inmates’ exposure to staff who have tested positive.
Crowdsourced legal documents from around the country related to COVID-19 and incarceration, organized, collected, and summarized for public defenders, litigators, and other advocates. Created and managed by Bronx Defenders, Columbia Law School’s Center for Institutional and Social Change, UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, and Zealous. Mostly federal court opinions, but now expanding to states and legal filings, declarations, and exhibits.
This resource is designed to help lawyers, advocates, researchers, journalists, and others interested in challenging, remedying, or drawing attention to the grave risk that Covid-19 poses to individuals who are detained.