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GEO's Karnes County Correctional Center found out-of-compliance for overcrowding, under-staffing

GEO Group's Karnes County Correctional Center was found out of compliance in an Jail Inspection Report issued today by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS). According to inspection (attached as a PDF): 

"While conducting the walk-through of the facility, it was discovered that there were 46 inmates confined in a holding cell with a capacity of 24. The capacity was visibly marked above the door of the cell."

Other problems found included a shortage of jail staff on sight, a past due inspection of the facility's kitchen, eight months of missing documentation related to emergency power equipment, and a lack of proper procedures to notify magistrate judges in the case of a prisoner with mental illness.  

According to TCJS's population report, the facility had 388 prisoners at the time of inspection out of a total capacity of 550.  All 388 prisoners were contract prisoners, and 355 were federal prisoners.  The fact that the facility has overcrowded cells, but is under capacity, speaks to probable severe understaffing at the facility, a problem also mentioned in the report: 

"While reviewing staffing rosters, it was determined that the 1 jailer per 48 inmates required ratio was not being met at all times as required by minimum jail standards. On samples reviewed, during every month of 2013, several shifts were found to have a shortage of jailers for the number of inmates in the facility. Shortages were normally between one to two jailers, but in some cases, they were three jailers short of meeting the requirement."

Staffing shortages shouldn't come as a surprise at Karnes which is in the heart of the Texas fracking boom and where unemployment is relatively low.  With KCCC experiencing staffing shortages and these operational problems, one has to wonder if the same problem isn't impacting the neighboring Karnes County Civil Detention Center, which is not subject to TCJS inspections because it only holds federal detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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