Cameron County jail found in non-compliance

BROWNSVILLE — The Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center was found in non-compliance with state jail regulations in a report issued this month citing 16 Texas counties in which state jail facilities were lacking in equipment and documentation that would bring them up to standard with code.

Issued by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the report detailed four code violations found during the inspection, dated Nov. 13-14.

The first violation involved life safety equipment that is required to be inspected, maintained, and tested so that it is fully operative at all times. Inspectors found that a fire panel (part of the fire alarm system) located at Carrizales was red tagged on Oct. 9 and had not been re-inspected.

Additionally, the report determined that the jail administration was unable to provide documentation that inmates housed in single cells were provided one hour of dayroom time as required by minimum jail standards.

The regulation ensures that prisoners are granted time outside of cells, and that those subject to disciplinary separation are allowed to shower every other day, according to the document.

Inspectors also wrote that they observed floor jailers “not conducting face-to-face observations” as required by law. This is done, according to inspectors, no less than once every 60 minutes for the safety of individuals incarcerated at the facility.

The report stated that the practice is required every 30 minutes in units “where inmates are known to be assaultive, potentially, suicidal, mentally ill, or have demonstrated bizarre behavior are confined.”

A fourth violation documented in the report indicated that inspectors determined that the jail administration was not adhering to daily sanitation practices previously approved by the commission in a Sanitation Plan.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio clarified that the county has taken steps to regain compliance and that the last remaining violation to be fixed is the fire panel, for which the part is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

“It is common for facilities to be found in non-compliance, mainly because of a lot of new laws that have been passed regarding jails,” he said.

Lucio said the fire panel device will be re-inspected in the near future, hopefully clearing the violation, while noting that it can be difficult to keep up with inspections.

“The commission expects us to train employees right away, which is not humanly impossible, but is often impractical to do in such a short period of time.”