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Concern mounts for Texas jails, prisons as COVID-19 cases increase again

Nov 11th, 2020 | Category: In The News

“The pandemic has worsened everything about conditions in jails in Texas,” said Diana Claitor, the co-founder and communications director of the Texas Jail Project……Claitor has been worried since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic about problems outlined in a new study published by the University of Texas at Austin on Monday.

The KVUE Defenders also obtained a recent report about the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS), which was published by the State’s Sunset Advisory Commission. It found five big issues:

  1. Jail standards are too vague, which creates risks for jails
  2. Inspection and enforcement processes don’t mitigate risk in jails
  3. TCJS lacks complaints data and investigation processes to make sure jails meet standards
  4. There is limited transparency and ability to improve jail operations
  5. The state still has a need for the TCJS

Claitor said the problems in that report are almost certainly linked to how much the virus is spreading in these facilities.

“We don’t have a strong commission that is educating jails about what needs to happen and requiring them to do that,” Claitor said. “So, yes, it’s very tied to the COVID situation.”


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