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Violations could shut down Swisher County Jail

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Tulia, Texas - With just one more violation, an area jail may be forced to shut it's doors.

This is the third time in three years the Swisher County Jail has had staffing issues leaving them incompliant with state law according to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which could have major repercussions.

"And it was determined that the staff member had been leaving the second floor, and had also actually left the entire facility at one point in time leaving the jail un-staffed," Brandon Wood, Texas Commission on Jail Standards Executive Director says.

Inspection of the Swisher County Jail was conducted late last month after an anonymous complaint was filed regarding staffing issues. State law requires a corrections officer on each floor that houses 10 or more offenders.

"If there were to be a fire, or any sort of medical emergency, if staff were not there to immediately respond there could be a situation where life safety comes into play, and we always take that very serious," Wood says.

Woods says during a routine inspection in October, the jail was also found to be insufficiently staffed. The county judge tells us this is their last chance to remedy the problem, or the Swisher County Jail may no longer be here.

"The staff at the jail is underneath the sheriff and they need to be 100 percent positive that they're going to make this work, or we're going to have to shut it down," Harold Keeter, Swisher County Judge says.

Judge Keeter says recent actions at the jail have been unacceptable. Corrections were made after they were found in violation last fall, and are going to have to be made once again. He adds their budget is not large enough to add anymore employees to the jail staff at this time.

The Swisher County sheriff and judge will be in Austin presenting a plan of action to the TCJS Thursday to remedy this violation.

 

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