A report recently released by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards indicates the Kleberg County Jail was cited for five violations and failed its most recent inspection. The inspection occurred on Oct. 15, and the report was released last week.
Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said each violation has been reviewed, and some were remedied immediately the same day, following inspection.
One of the citations stated that officers were not performing “face-to-face observations at least every 30 minutes in areas where inmates are known to be assaultive, potentially suicidal, mentally ill, or who have demonstrated bizarre behavior are confined as required by minimum jail standards.”
Kirkpatrick said an electronic system for that monitoring was being installed the day of the inspection, and he quickly provided training so his officers could use the software to keep track of inmates on a timely basis.
“It’s electronic time check hardware and software that had not been online yet,” Kirkpatrick said. “The inspector did recognize that during the inspection. But when there were physical counts before the implementation of the software, there were a couple times that those checks went over their allowed timeliness. We were cited for it, but it was fixed the same day when the software went online.”
The jail was also cited because officers were receiving written complaints of grievances from inmates about the jail but “are not consistently providing a 15-day interim response or a full response within 60 days as required by minimum jail standards,” records said.
“At some point (during inspection), the inspector asked us to reply to those complaints,” Kirkpatrick said. “In other words, give them a written response to what they have asked for and that it has either been denied because the complaint or request is something that we can’t do, or if there is, then they wanted us to reply to that complaint if we can.”
The jail was also cited for “not maintaining an acceptable level of cleanliness,” which was also immediately taken care of, Kirkpatrick said.
“There was some graffiti in one cell,” Kirkpatrick said. “That is minor, but for the jail commissioned it had to be done (...) those are things that are always continuously going on and we have to clean that up on a weekly basis.”
Paperwork issues were also cited in the report, which stated “the intake officers are not consistently identifying inmates known to be mentally disabled and/or potentially suicidal as required by the code of criminal procedure article 16.22. It was also determined that the magistrates are not being notified within 12 hours are required.”
This is an issue with the jail’s “screening form” which identifies inmates who have medical, mental or developmental impairments, according to the report.
“So every single time a person comes into the jail, they are screened, then they’re given a time limit in which the magistrate is notified,” Kirkpatrick said. “So, from the time they come in to the time that we notify the magistrate that they’re here is on a time limit. And I think a couple of occasions it was late by a couple hours, because of late fax confirmations (of the inmates records).”
Kirkpatrick said he has provided training with each detention officer to understand the “urgency and importance” of getting the paperwork straightened out.
The final citation noted that classification documentation has not been compliant by minimum jail standards, and Kirkpatrick said it involved the custody and holding of inmates’ belongings.
“They want us to provide the inmates with a box for their personal items,” Kirkpatrick said. “They have been ordered and are on their way.”
Kirkpatrick said all the issues have been resolved and TCJS officials have asked that an e-mail be sent to the organization listing the changes.
Another inspection will be run at a later date, Kirkpatrick said, but they will not know the date of inspection.
“We’re at a point where we should be fine and there’s no major issues that need attention,” Kirkpatrick said.