On October 23rd, an inmate escaped from Community Education Centers' (CEC) Kinney County Detention Center in Brackettville, TX. The inmate, Manuel Guardiola, is an alleged member of the Mexican Mafia who bribed the facility's guards in order to escape. With Brackettville's location about 30 miles from the Mexican border, it is assumed that the inmate, still at large, has returned back to Mexico ("Mexican Mafia soldier escapes from Texas jail," October 26, 2009, Examiner). Shortly after the escape, the warden of the facility, Mickey Hubert, resigned from his position on November 2nd. Additionally, CEC closed down the facility temporarily with no word on if or when they plan to re-open, leaving all employees (even the ones not involved with the bribery) without work. The U.S. Marshals moved the remaining inmates who were left behind to other nearby facilities.
This incident was the second major problem for the Kinney County Detention Center under the watch of Hubert. In late December of last year, inmates refused to return to their cell and set fire to mattresses, causing a riot and requiring multiple state resources to quell the outbreak. Adan Muñoz, Director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, told me that the guards who work at the facility are not gang members of the syndicate. This fact rules out the possibility of the guards colluding with the inmates in either the riot or the escape and points more to the incompetence of those particular CEC employees at Kinney County Detention Center involved with the bribery. This is not surprising, considering the general lack of labor benefits received as a private prison employee, that one would be quick to accept a bribe in times of economic hardship. However, the actions taken by the guards involved with this breakout are reprehensible.
Read more about the Kinney County Detention Center and CEC here:
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.
Last Monday the Coastal Bend Detention Center had its second round of inspection after failing the first on 17 counts of noncompliance. Within thirty days of failing the first inspection and facing the threat of closure, LCS Corrections got their act together ("Private Robstown prison passes state inspection," October 19, 2009):
“They reviewed all the deficiencies and all were corrected 100 percent,” Harbison said. “We are 100 percent approved. The crew, the new warden and his staff are just doing an outstanding job.”Warden Elberto “Bert” Bravo took over as head of the facility about 10 days before state inspectors arrived and a state inspector told him to address problems or face possible closure. Bravo replaced the previous warden who resigned over management issues.
Bravo immediately hired two deputy wardens with more than 60 years of combined experience to help him shape up the facility...
Muñoz said he was surprised that the LCS staff was able to bring the facility into compliance so quickly.
“I could tell they wanted to get back in compliance, but there were quite a bit of things that needed to get done,” Muñoz said. “I have to got commend them for it.”
It is unclear as to whether or not the health hazards of the food preparation were fixed alongside the administrative failures. For more information regarding the Coastal Bend Detention Center's previous citations feel free to review our past coverage.
Last month we covered the failed inspection of an LCS Corrections facility, the Coastal Bend Detention Center (CBDC). The CBDC failed on 17 different compliance issues, with the director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards stating the inspection results were "really close to complete incompetence" ("Robstown Prison Fails Inspection," Corpus Christi Caller-Times, September 21, 2009). Also in that article, jail Warden Elberto Bravo was quoted with projecting that he would have his facility in compliance with Texas jail standards by the end of October.
Recently, Bravo has asked inspectors to return in mid-October for a second round of inspections:
"Texas Commission on Jail Standards director Adan Muñoz said his office has been in regular contact with the Robstown facility and Bravo sent a progress update earlier this week.