This article was published in partnership with KETK-TV and The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization covering the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for The Marshall Project’s newsletter, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

With her 4-year-old in the back seat, Dalila Reynoso parked between a gun store and a bail bond agency in downtown Tyler, Texas, peering through the window at the Smith County Jail. When she saw a deputy without a mask on, she snapped a photo. When she saw another fail to wipe down his vehicle, she jotted it down in her notebook.

It was mid-April, and Reynoso had begun regularly staking out the facility in this conservative east Texas county of 230,000, in the hopes of protecting those detained inside. She was already a local activist, but COVID-19 and the threat it poses to vulnerable people in prisons and jails has turned her into a full-blown citizen watchdog.

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