Jail inspections resume during the Coronavirus pandemic

Inspections resume during the Coronavirus pandemic

by Jeff Callaway

The Texas Commission on Jail standards,TCJS, are inspecting Texas jails again, after having worked a modified work schedule that began at the onset of the COVID19 pandemic. 

Governor Greg Abbott started phase one of the re-opening of the State, and of government operations Friday, and the Commission was back inspecting jails Monday. 

“This strategic approach to opening the state of Texas prioritizes the health and safety of our communities and follows the guidelines laid out by our team of medical experts,” said Governor Abbott. “Now more than ever, Texans must remain committed to safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19, and we must continue to rely on doctors and data to provide us with the safest strategies to restore Texans’ livelihoods. We must also focus on protecting the most vulnerable Texans from exposure to COVID-19. If we remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans, we can continue to open the Lone Star State”

Phase I began May 1st, and is scheduled to continue until at least May 18th, when the Governor will evaluate the next steps. 

Texas Jail’s book in as many as 1 millions inmates a year, so keeping the virus out of the jail population, and keeping jail staff healthy is a major issue. As of April 30th, Statewide stats from the TCJS shows there were 772 active positive test confirmations in inmates, and 273 active positive staff members. Records also show there were 5175 inmates quarantined, but not active.

By guidance of the TCJS and the Texas Sheriff’s Association, Jail’s have set up mitigation, and contingency plans to deal with the virus, and although the numbers aren’t ideal, they are well below what we would have been seen had the proactive measures not been taken.

Texas county jails are regulated by, and inspected by, the TCJS. State prisons do not fall under the authority of the jail commission.

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by Jeff Callaway

Jeff Callaway | May 7, 2020 at 3:21 pm |

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