HOUSTON (Covering Katy News) – The Texas Commission on Jail Standards this week conducted an unannounced inspection of the Harris County Jail and it came up a little short of passing.
The weeklong inspection included 23 areas of review, including the inmate admission and release process, health services, supervision, discipline, exercise, education, commissary, and visitation.
Inspectors determined that the 9,000-plus inmate facility was in compliance in 21 of the 23 areas of review. Texas jails must earn passing grades in all areas of review in order to be in compliance with state standards. The two areas of non-compliance were sanitation and food service.
Regarding sanitation, the inspectors’ findings included the statement that “certain areas of each building were not being kept at an acceptable level of cleanliness.”
The food service component of the inspection found that “hot foods were not up to health codes (temperature) prior to the food being distributed to the inmate housing areas.”
Aramark, a private company, has been operating food services in the jail since September 2017.
There are currently two dozen Texas county jails on the state’s list of non-compliant jails.
In response to the report, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has ordered an internal review to identify causes of the deficiencies and solutions. The Sheriff’s Office has 30 days to file a corrective action plan with the state. Some of the issues identified by the inspectors have already been corrected.
“We take the care, custody and control of our inmate population seriously, and our team is committed to bringing the jail back into full compliance in the very near future,” Sheriff Gonzalez said. “We respect the Jail Commission’s findings and will work diligently to correct each issue identified by the inspectors.”