Longview — Texas has more county jails than ever in compliance with state jail standards, a list that includes all the county lockups in East Texas.
Jails in Gregg, Harrison, Rusk, Smith, Upshur, Cass, Camp and Marion counties all were found to be compliant after recent unannounced visits by inspectors, said Adan Munoz, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
“Right now, we have the lowest number of non-compliant jails that we’ve ever had,” Munoz said Thursday.
The commission sends state inspectors annually to each of the state’s 246 county jails to go over facilities and operations with a fine-toothed comb. The aim is ensuring the jails are being run according to state standards and are following the rules to care for inmates.
As of Thursday, eight jails statewide were on the non-compliant list.
The positive report card in East Texas was partly the result of cooperation across the region, officials said
Shannon Herklotz, assistant director of the commission, said coordination between Gregg County and Rusk County jail administrators prevented the Rusk County jail from being found non-compliant because of a misunderstanding about a jail rule.
“Rusk County had an approved tuberculosis plan to protect inmates, but the standard says once you have over 100 beds, you have to test everyone annually,” Herklotz said. “Even though (Rusk County has) more than 100 beds at their new facility, they thought they were OK since they still had under 100 inmates.”
Gregg County was able to lend Rusk County the supplies it needed to test the inmates and jail staff before the investigator left, which prevented a non-compliance issue.
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