On Friday, May 04, 2007, inspectors with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards completed their five-day inspection of the Harris County Jail System. Jail administrators described the recent inspection as the “most thorough” jail inspection in recent memory. During the post-inspection briefing that took place Friday afternoon, inspectors said that they found the Harris County Jail System to be in compliance with all applicable jail standards. Further, inspectors made a number of reassuring comments regarding their observations within the jails. At least one inspector said that he was impressed with the level of positive interaction between staff members and inmates, and commented that such interaction is the “cornerstone” of a well-run detention facility.

Following the briefing with inspectors, Jail Administrators praised the efforts of staff members and the support of Commissioner’s Court. Chief Deputy Mike Smith maintained that staff members have worked diligently for several months to ensure, as best as possible, that the facilities stayed in compliance with all applicable standards, especially on such matters as staff-to-inmate ratios and facility cleanliness. He also expressed appreciation for the continued support and understanding of Commissioner’s Court as the Sheriff’s Office sought solutions to a number of issues impacting the jails, including issues related to the recruitment and retention of qualified personnel.

In acknowledging the positive response from the Jail Commission, Sheriff Tommy Thomas asserted that a finding of compliance is not an indication that our work is complete. Sheriff Thomas said that the Sheriff’s Office will continue to strive towards improving all aspects of inmate housing to provide professional, humane services to all inmates entrusted to our care. The official acknowledgment of the inspectors’ findings is expected to be delivered next Thursday.