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Two Area Jails Found Non-Compliant

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Houston, Madison Counties among 20 Statewide

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – Two area jails were found to be non-compliant with Texas Minimum Jail Standards following recent inspections.

The first of these was the Houston County Jail which had one area of noncompliance. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) inspection report dated Oct. 8 stated, “All medical instructions of designated physicians shall be followed. During the inspection, it was determined that an inmate did not receive follow-up care as instructed by a physician after discharge from a hospital.”

The second jail was in Madison County which had four areas of noncompliance.  Item one in the TCJS inspection report, dated Oct. 7, stated, “All life safety equipment shall be inspected, maintained, and tested by persons qualified to do so (whether under vendor contract, by state or private agency or otherwise) in order that such equipment shall be safe, secure, and fully operative at all times. During the walk-through of the facility, the fire control panel was observed to be out of date and having an active trouble code.”

Item 2 specified, “Facilities shall have an established procedure for documented, face-to-face observation of all inmates by jailers no less than once every 60 minutes. During a review of observation logs, it was determined that jail staff are exceeding the face-to-face, 60 minute observations from 1 minute up to 39 minutes on a continual basis.”

The third area of deficiency also had to do with inmate observation. The report stated, “Observation shall be performed at least every 30 minutes in areas where inmates known to be assaultive, potentially suicidal, mentally ill, or who have demonstrated bizarre behavior are confined. During a review of observation logs, it was determined that jail staff are exceeding the face-to-face, 30 minute observations from 1 minute up to 69 minutes on a continual basis.”

The fourth area of deficiency in Madison County concerned food. The report stated, “Except in emergency situations, meals shall be served in accordance with a written menu approved and reviewed annually for compliance with nationally recognized allowances for basic nutrition including nutritional requirements of known pregnant inmates. This approval and review shall be documented and should be performed by a licensed or provisional licensed dietitian. During the inspection, it was determined that jail staff are not serving meals in accordance with the approved menu.”

Both reports were signed by It was signed by William T. Phariss, TCJS Inspector.

There were 20 counties statewide which were found to be non-compliant. Counties were listed upon verification the county had received the official notice of non-compliance. Counties will be removed immediately upon attaining compliance.

The 20 non-compliant county jails are: Bexar; Bowie; Culberson; Crockett; Dallam-Hartley; Dawson; Duval; Freestone; Hardin; Houston; Hunt; Kinney; Liberty; Madison; Maverick; Milam; Red River; San Jacinto; Van Zandt; and Victoria.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.