Fort Bend County judge shocked the state placed COVID-positive inmates in Richmond prison, concerned for workers

RICHMOND – Fort Bend County judge said he’s concerned about plans to send prisoners recovering from coronavirus to part of the Jester prison in Richmond.

"I was shocked to find out that the State of Texas has been using Fort Bend County as a dumping ground for convicted criminals with coronavirus," Judge KP George said in a statement.

The judge said he wants the prisoners taken elsewhere.

"I'm concerned about the people who work there and then come back to our community, and there's a good possibility of spread," George said in an interview.

Jeremy Desel, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said over the phone that county officials were notified in advance and didn't raise any objections.

The county said the call was a heads up given just hours before.

The state said 35 prisoners who were treated at a hospital for the virus and released were moved to Jester Unit 1. Desel said the prisoners weren't well enough to return to the general population yet. He said the location was chosen because of its proximity to a prison hospital, and the unit was cleared out before the recovering prisoners arrived.

"This is a state prison facility. I don't have any control over how they manage that facility, but I thought it was important for our citizens to know what is going on," George said.

The state said the plan is for the prisoners to leave once they’re well enough. Desel said employees who come into contact with the recovering prisoners will wear protective gear.