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Southwestern Correctional draws Jail Standards rebuke on medical care, recreation in Burnet jail

Southwestern Correctional's Burnet County jail drew a fairly sharp rebuke from Texas Commission on Jail Standards' head Adan Muñoz for apparently not providing medical care to a pregnant inmate, amongst other problems.  According to a KXAN story ("Surprise jail visit uncovers new issues," October 20),

On a surprise visit last Thursday, jail inspectors found concerns inside after questioning two female inmates. One was pregnant and said she was not given proper medication. Another mental health patient said she was not given her medicaiton either, so inspectors checked her medical chart.

"There were certain medications that needed to be prescribed for her that had not been given to her, and that's obviously not in compliance with jail standards," said Adan Munoz, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards .

"They get excellent care here," said Tammy Manning, the Burnet County Jail medical supervisor. Manning was out of town during the inspection but normally sees the inmate who she said had been refusing to show up to appointments after they were scheduled. The situation had not been documented on her medical chart that state inspectors reviewed. "We do have room for improvement in our documentation," said Manning. "And our actional plan we put into place Friday was to improve our documentation so this will not happen again."

One of the female inmates also said they were not getting recreation time everyday. "We went on to check the recreation log to see if their concerns were valid," said Munoz. "We couldn't even find a recreation log."
 Burnet County Jail Warden Bruce Armstrong admits there was a breakdown there, too.

"We run rec everyday," said Armstrong. "And the officer calls in the count to the central control officer whose suppose to be logging the count down on how many offenders went to rec, and they were neglecting to document the count."

Armstrong said it has been taken care of, but the state said there is one more requirement the county has yet to comply with.

The state does not have the jail's operational plan, which covers everything from what to do in case of a fire to how to administer health care. "The fact that it's been open since April and still not within our agency certainly gives us great concern," said Munoz.  The county told the state they were working on it. Munoz sent written notification of the deficiencies to the county and Southwest Corrections, the company who manages the jail. They have 30 days to comply.

Southwestern's Burnet lock-up was deemed non-compliant by TCJS in September after an escape lead to an inspection.  At that point, Muñoz said “The best way to describe it is a lack of diligence, a lack of professionalism."  The facility drew broad opposition in Burnet County even before it was built with residents siting the now proven downfalls of private jail companies and potential dangers in floating debt for private jail expansion.  We'll keep you posted on Burnet's continuing problems with Southwestern Correctional. 

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