Senate Bill 1849, the Sandra Bland Act, unanimously approved by the Senate, now heads to the House. The bill though watered down, would require county jails to divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment. The legislation would make it easier for defendants with a mental illness to receive a personal bond, and require law enforcement agencies to investigate deaths that occur in jail. Jails would also be required to ensure prisoners continue to have access to health care while in custody, and the reporting of serious incidents including attempted and completed suicides, deaths, and assaults. If monies are available, cameras would have to be installed, to monitor inmates. And law enforcement officers would be required to learn de-escalation techniques that may require the use of force. The bill authored by Senator John Whitmire-now heads to the House, where state Representative Garnet Coleman filed a similar bill. Law Enforcement opposed earlier provisions such as consent searches and racial profiling.
On a Friday, July 10, 2015, Sandra Bland a 28-year-old black woman from the Chicago area was pulled over in Prairie View, Texas for failing to signal a lane change. The next Monday morning she was discovered in her Waller jail cell, hanged to death. Her death was ruled a suicide.