Report: County jail now in compliance

The Cameron County Jail is now in compliance with Texas Minimum Jail Standards, according to copies of a letter and certificate sent to the Sheriff’s Office last week.

A copy of a letter addressed to Sheriff Omar Lucio from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards stated, “The Texas Commission on Jail Standards recently conducted a re-inspection of your facility after being found in non-compliance on November 13-14, 2019.”

“All deficiencies have been corrected and your jail facility is now in compliance with minimum jail standards.”

The letter included a certificate of compliance indicating that the jail was inspected and was found in compliance with state minimum standards on Feb. 11. Both the letter and certificate were signed by Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director Brandon S. Wood.

Lucio said on Wednesday that he has certificates of compliance from 2016, 2017, and 2018, as well, in reference to a January article on a series of compliance violations documented by the commission since 2014. “We try to do the best we can,” he said of the ongoing inspections, which he noted are extensive and happen at random.

The commission is required to do one unannounced inspection annually, according to the commission’s 2019 Self-Evaluation Report.

Lucio said that a missing part for the fire panel at the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center, which was listed as having eight different trouble alarms in the November inspection, was ordered a month or two in advance.

“That particular part we can’t get locally,” said Lucio, explaining that when it arrived from the manufacturer, it didn’t fit. Inspectors arrived in-between. Lucio said another infraction in the November inspection had to do with cleaning supplies that were stored incorrectly, which was addressed and corrected.

Another issue documented by inspectors included inmate suicide screening forms allegedly not being completed in their entirety. The commission also wrote that inmate grievances and appeals were not consistently documented.

Lucio said all concerns highlighted in the report were addressed with the commission during a follow-up inspection, noting that the office works to maintain compliance on a wide variety of standards for all of the four detention centers it oversees.

Each compliance violation is addressed and re-inspected in a follow-up visit by the commission, Lucio said.