East Texas Jail Fails Inspection

Each year, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspects various jails around the state. Some of those jails end up shutting down, while others lose their certification if safety is an issue.

Almost half of the jails visited have failed this year's state inspection, including the Trinity County jail. The Groveton facility was non-compliant in several areas, mostly involving paper work and record keeping.

Chief Deputy James Gratz said, "We have our fire extinguishers that were all working fire extinguishers, they just didn't have a 2007 sticker on them. We're getting those inspected this week and then we had an area where we have an emergency power generator that kicks on when the power goes off, and we didn't have a log sheet showing that generator was tested once a month."

Chief Gratz said the Trinity County jail's problems are minor and won't take long to fix.

"The physical operation of the jail was not found to be at fault in any way, shape or form," said Gratz. "The way we conduct ourselves with the jail [and] with the prisoners was fine. The physical plant was clean and up to date as far as the facilities go."

During their recent visit, inspectors found the daily jail roster at the Trinity County jail was not up to date. That problem, and nearly all of the jail's infractions, have already been corrected.

The jail can house up to seven inmates, but also contracts with jails in Jasper and Newton counties to prevent overcrowding. The problems inspectors found there will not affect any of those prisoners.

Thirty-eight jails have now been inspected by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. The 13 county jails that failed are in Bexar, Cameron, Fannin, Jackson, Karnes, Kleberg, Liberty, Reeves, San Jacinto, Sutton, Trinity, Victoria, and Wichita.