‘It’s a huge embarrassment’: Close to 200 Harris County defendants released after computer system issue, HCSO says
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said a computer system went down last Thursday, an issue which continued into the weekend, leading to a backup and some defendants being released from the joint processing center.
‘He danced his way into everyone’s heart’: Family wants justice after 19-year-old with special needs killed in Harris County Jail
Civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen and the family of a 19-year-old man with special needs who was recently killed in the Harris County Jail cried out for justice Wednesday at a press conference held on the steps of the facility.
Harris County working to prevent jail from becoming COVID-19 superspreader
HOUSTON – Harris County Jail is not immune to the pandemic as COVID-19 numbers increase statewide, officials said. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said they’re doing their best to reduce the spread while some loved ones of inmates say they’re a little concerned. Harris County is at the top. "Well we’re the largest county jail in Texas by far, said Jason Spencer, a spokesman for HCSO. So, it would make sense that we would have a significant number of people test positive for COVID within the jail.”The Harris County Sheriff’s Office runs the jail in downtown Houston.
Cook County Jail set for in-person voting despite COVID-19 setbacks: ‘It’s also about social justice, it’s about fairness, it’s about hope’
County officials believe the jail may have been the first in the country to operate as a precinct, said Cook County sheriff’s office spokesman Matt Walberg. In the general election, partly as a concession to the pandemic but also due to a smaller population, the jail is set to operate four polling places, three fewer than in the primary.chicagotribune.com
HCSO: Mass testing helping slow spread of COVID-19 at Harris County jail
HOUSTON – Despite the growing number of jail inmates testing positive for COVID-19, officials with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office believe mass testing is helping slow the spread of the virus behind bars. “We are not seeing an increase in the number of those who are actually sick,” said Jason Spencer, with HCSO. Spencer said 593 inmates have tested positive, 150 are asymptomatic and 14 have been hospitalized. Spencer said 220 members of the jail staff have tested positive, 80 have returned to work. In fact, Spencer said the number of employees returning to work now outpaces those testing positive for the virus.
Inmate released under Harris County Judge’s coronavirus order, back in jail on new charges
HOUSTON – An inmate released under a short-lived order by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus in Harris County Jail, was arrested Tuesday and faces new charges. According to the Harris County Justice Administration Department (JAD), 12 men were released under Hidalgo’s order before it was blocked by a felony court judge. “There is no issue more politicized than whether or not inmates, who constitute a potential danger to Harris county citizens and Texans, ought to be released from confinement,” said Wice. “It wouldn’t have met the jail standards for even the level of minimum security jail,” said Hidalgo. We’d have to arrest everybody in Harris County to make sure nobody is going to get in any sort of trouble,” said Hidalgo.
Harris County sheriff asks federal court judge to intervene if no resolution reached in inmate-release dispute
HOUSTON – Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is asking a federal court judge to step in if a compromise can’t be reached regarding the release of about 1,000 non-violent inmates from the Harris County Jail. On Friday, the Sheriff began releasing inmates under Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order. According to the county’s Justice Administration Department, 12 inmates were released under Hidalgo’s order, when state court judge Herb Ritchie issued a counter-order disregard Hidalgo’s directive. According to data from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, of the 7,599 inmates currently in jail, 3.2% face misdemeanor charges. As of our deadline, county officials have not yet said whether there will be an appeal of Judge Ritchie’s order.
Harris County moves forward with plan to release certain inmates from jail
HOUSTON – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order for the sheriff to begin releasing certain non-violent inmates from the county jail as soon as possible. The judge’s order does also require inmates to be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and cleared by a medical professional before release. "Before anyone is released, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Harris County Pretrial Services, and the Harris County Justice Administration Department will review each individual case to verify the person qualifies. Even during the public health crisis of COVID-19, HCSO officers and staff bravely serve every day to keep Harris County safe. Pre-Trial Releases:6,303 are currently in the Harris County Jail awaiting trial.