Just as construction was getting started on a new Hopkins County jail to resolve a number of issues with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the commission made a surprise visit to current facility Thursday, according to County Judge Robert Newsom.
The visit was prompted by a complaint the jail standards commission had received about the jail.
“The complaint was based on some of the medical challenges that we are having down there at the jail,” the judge said. “We jumped right on it. We visited with medical personnel [Friday] and they are going to be sure our prisoners are taken care of.”
Medical care and services at the jail are provided through a contract with Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, either in the hospital emergency room or at the jail, which Judge Newsom said was much less expensive.
“We count on them to actually make sure that the inmates are taken care of,” he said. “It's just part of our responsibility.”
The jail commission's annual visit is scheduled for next month and Newsom said he was told if the situation were remedied, the issue would be resolved.
The jail standards commission has been a frequent visitor at the county jail for a number of years and has worked with the county in a variety of ways to try and resolve problems, specifically overcrowding, as well as issues related to a number of issues involving jail equipment and structural concerns.
Although the current jail has the capacity to house as many as 100 prisoners, an increasing number of female offenders has exceeded the capacity to house women.
At a rate of about $50 per day, the county is housing prisoners in neighboring counties to stay within population parameters.
Construction on the $16 million jail that will house as many as 200 inmates started last week and completion and the transfer of prisoners to the new facility is expected in October of next year.