HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – On March 8, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards told Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez they have 30 days to take appropriate corrective action.
“I’m alarmed,” said State Senator John Whitmire. “I don’t run Harris County, but I do feel a responsibility to sound the alarm that we cannot continue to function with an out of compliance jail.”
In an only on Fox report last month, two former Harris County Jail employees who quit told us inmates were the ones running the show.
Two former Harris Co. Jail employees describe chaotic conditions at the jail
FOX 26 Reporter Randy Wallace spoke exclusively with two former Harris County Jail employees who shared their experiences inside the Harris County Jail, which is already earning the nickname, the “House of Death.”
Those employees, who asked to be anonymous said, “Drugs are rampant. You’d see gang intimations,” and, “there’s an expectation you will be welcomed through violence.”
In a February 16 report, Harris County Jail inmate Kyle French told us he witnessed detention officers doing drugs in the 701 Clinic.
RELATED: Harris Co. Jail inmate goes public with death, violence, drug use he says he’s witnessed since last October
“Every night, it was like a party down in the clinic after 2 o’clock,” he said.
Turns out while we were interviewing French, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards conducted inspections from February 13 through February 17.
State inspectors found several deficiencies.
“Lack of supervision, no oversight of inmates for over an hour, no visible checks and balances of these individuals,” Whitmire said.
Harris County Jail deemed ‘House of Death’ following inmate’s death
The Harris County Jail has become ‘the house of death in Houston, Texas’, according to community activist Quanell X.
Inmates requesting medical are supposed to be seen within 48 hours of the request.
The report states an inmate with a large growth protruding from his gum line was not seen by medical staff until 33 days later.
“That’s one documented case and there are others even more severe,” said Whitmire, “the life and safety of defendants are not being provided.”
FOX 26 attempted to conduct an interview with Harris County about the report. We were denied the interview, but were sent a written statement,
“The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is reviewing the final Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspection report. We continue to work diligently to address any noted areas of deficiency. Tomorrow, Sheriff Gonzalez will be presenting an update to the Commissioners Court regarding some elements of the corrective action plan and seeking additional funds/resources to accelerate our improvement efforts. The recent comprehensive inspection also recognized some significant improvements.”
Leave a Reply