Both Harrison and Marion counties have been removed from the Texas Minimum Jail Standards non-compliance list after being re-inspected.
Both jails were initially cited for minor issues, mainly tied to paperwork. The counties were among 14 other counties on the list. Harrison County was cited for a total of four issues; Marion was docked for three.
Harrison County Sheriff Brandon “BJ” Fletcher reported this week that he just received the certificate, reflecting that the jail is now in compliance.
“As you know we went through a jail inspection a while back and had a couple of rocks in the road that we had to fix,” he reported to the commissioners court. “I received our certificate (for) our passing jail inspection.
“We were re-inspected last week. We are in compliance; we are up-to-date and we have no issues,” Sheriff Fletcher said.
Likewise, Marion County Judge Leward LaFleur announced that Marion County also received notice that its jail is back in good standing.
“In December 2020, the Texas Commission of Jail Standards had found Marion County Jail was found in non compliance for administrative purposes,” LaFleur said, giving an update at a recent meeting of the Marion County Commissioners Court.
“The inspector told the sheriff the jail looked great; everything was in working order. They just needed to do some paperwork cleanup,” said LaFleur. “So far, they have done that.”
The letter received from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards states after being found in non-compliance in 2020, all deficiencies have been corrected; thus the Marion County jail facility is now in compliance with the minimum jail standards.
“I would like to, on behalf of the commissioners court, thank the sheriff and his staff for getting that resolved,” said LaFleur.
Harrison County sheriff, Fletcher, also thanked his staff for their diligence in bringing Harrison County jail back into compliance.
“Lieutenant Rene Whilhite, (jail administrator) Captain John Hain, Lieutenant Alton Fugler have absolutely turned flips to try to make everything right,” said Fletcher.
Most of Harrison County’s infractions were paperwork issues that were luckily easy to correct, Fletcher explained before.
For Harrison County, the noncompliance report noted that the review of medication administration records failed to show that medications are distributed in accordance with written instructions from a physician.
In its response to the jail commission, HCSO advised that all staff members have now been instructed by the administration that when passing medication they must scan the inmate’s arm band and then scan the proper barcode for either the dispense or refusal of medication. Then they are to sign the Medication Administration Record in the medical room.
The Jail Standards Commission additionally noted that during the review of inmate medical records, it was determined that medication for an inmate was stopped after seven days when the medication was prescribed for 10 days by a physician.
To address this issue, HCSO’s medical staff has reviewed the medical protocol set forth by Dr. James Logan and adopted by the jail. Additionally, the administration has instructed the medical staff as to the importance of properly documenting and following the physician’s orders to that the medication is dispensed as ordered.
The third issue for Harrison County noted that restraint chair logs indicated staff exceeded the required 15 minute observation checks by one to 22 minutes on multiple occasions.
To correct the problem, HCSO has now changed the restraint chair log by adding a bar code to be scanned. This will be scanned every 15 minutes. HCSO has also implemented a 15-minute timer to be used only for the restraint chair, so that the observation checks will be done on time.
The fourth and final citation was there was no documented face-to-face observation of inmates housed on the fourth floor of the main jail facility on the day of inspection and there was not documentation of face-to-face observations for the period of Nov. 1, 2020, to Dec. 15, 2020.
The administration advised that staff members have now been instructed that they are to do face-to-face observation at least once every 60 minutes on the fourth floor.
The staff has also been advised that all checks are to be punctual every time.
For Marion County, the noncompliance report noted that MCSO staff members who had not completed the required four hours of classification training are performing classification duties.
Sheriff Capps said the department had two new jailers that hadn’t taken the class, at the time, due to the COVID-19 shutdown.
To remedy the issue, all jailers took the class again just to stay on top of things.
Regarding the second issue, which was the lack of an annual internal audit for the classification system, the paperwork had not been done at the time of the initial audit.
MCSO has now corrected the error by implementing monthly records instead of annual.
According to the last strike, during the inspection it was noted that documentation provided failed to show that inmates are allowed one hour of supervised recreation at least three days per week.
Sheriff David Capps explained before that inmates were given recreation, but it wasn’t logged. To fix the deficiency, the jail set a uniform schedule to workout.