SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (KLTV) - A state agency has placed the Hopkins County Jail on the state’s non-compliant list following a November inspection.
The reports is labeled “special,” as the jail at the time was holding 34 US Marshals Service inmates on the inspection date, which contributed to the issue of limiting the number of available beds.
According to an inspection report from Nov. 10, the jail was written up for the following reasons:
“The Inmate Custody Roster for November 3, 2020 indicated that 21 of the 25 inmates in the holding cells had been held there in excess of 48 hours. Discussions with jail administration confirmed that inmates were being held for more than 48 hours.”
“The Inmate Custody Roster for November 3, 2020 indicated 16 inmates had been held in Holding Cell 4, though our records indicate Holding Cell 4 only has a rated capacity of 10 inmates. Discussion with the jail administration confirmed the cell capacity to be accurate but alleged that the report was incorrect, and that the excess inmates were being held in one of the recreation areas. The recreation area is not approved or equipped for the holding or housing of inmates.”
The TCJS lists jails on its list of non-compliance until they pass a reinspection.
Jail Administrator Kenneth Dean released the following statement:
The inmates during that time were housed for more than 48 hours in the Holding Cells for a couple of reasons. We had been holding inmates longer than the 48 hours to ensure they were being monitored appropriately and showing no signs of COVID-19 before being housed in the population housing areas. This was a precaution being utilized for the safety of all the offender population. Since the receipt of this letter this practice has ceased and we will expedite the movement of the inmates in Holding to population. If we start seeing an increase in COVID related illnesses we will ensure we contact the Jail Commission to seek further guidance.
As I have previously explained the Holding 4 cell was not utilized over the stated capacity of 10 inmates. As I explained once the cell had 10 inmates in the cell we put the overflow in the recreation area. We have taken corrective action and no Inmates will be housed in the Recreation Area. Since the COVID pandemic started and TDCJ has limited intake of inmates, it has increased our capacity. It has been made clear verbally by TCJS staff we need to eliminate the U.S. Marshall inmates to reduce the capacity numbers. This contract was put in place prior to the COVID pandemic. I would like to ensure the TCJS that we are striving each day to be creative and proactive to get through these unprecedented times. I am saddened that trying to do the right thing during this time has caused a non-compliance because of inmates being housed in recreation and over 48 hours in Holding Cells. We will continue to strive forward and meet the required standards set forth.
Due to County Jails having various influx of inmates on a daily basis that we do everything we can to stay within the standards and that the these issues were resolved the same day they were reported.