The Factor received this exclusive statement from Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s office this afternoon.
It comes in response to an anticipated Sunday afternoon press conference where activist Quanell X will ask Sheriff Adrian Garcia to resign.
This is after it was revealed an inmate with mental issues was living in a cell filled with feces and bugs while deputy jailers failed to act.
Sheriff Adrian Garcia:
“The people of Harris County rightly expect and demand accountability and transparency in their government. My administration strives every day to give the public the highest level of transparency and accountability. I’m proud of that fact.
“When I took over the county jail there were many issues and challenges and I have implemented many reforms that have contributed greatly to our public safety. We no longer just warehouse inmates, as had been the practice for many years prior, but now there is incredible time and effort to helping those once in our custody to live more positive and productive lives. Under my leadership inmate GED instruction, vocational education, spiritual ministry and counseling has been a priority since I took office – a priority that wasn’t there before.
“The punishments I have handed out as a result of this tragic Goodwin incident are the actions I have taken all along since I took office, holding all staff accountable to levels never seen before. This is what the community has expected and this is what I have delivered.
“After I learned of this incident I took the initiative to notify the DOJ, the FBI, and the District Attorney’s Office and gave each of them everything we knew about this incident at that time. No one had to demand such action.
“At the request of the District Attorney’s Office, I paused the internal investigation in order to ensure they had every opportunity to pursue criminal charges, as a result they indicted two employees, and this past Friday I dealt with all others involved.
“When the DA’s Office finished their work, we aggressively completed our internal investigation resulting in the punishments announced Friday.
“I understand Ms. Lambert’s anger over what happened to her son, and I have always shared her feelings. What happened to inmate Goodwin should never have happened, and my actions will help to keep it from happening again.
“The multi-point reform plan that I implemented in the county jail is a result of that shared anger and my desire for justice for law abiding citizens, the accused, and the guilty.
“However, I had already implemented the Crisis Intervention Response Team that has been able to keep over 1000 persons with mental illness from ever coming to jail.
“These reforms also serve as a reminder that more needs to be done on the front end of what brings people to the county jail, the mentally ill in our community are underserved and the county jail regretfully continues to be the primary mental health care facility for those in need. Until this reality changes, it will continue to cause challenges for my staff.
“The county jail will circulate about 120,000 inmates this year, I have nearly 5000 employees, and on any given day there are about 9000 inmates in my custody of which almost 30% are suffering from a serious mental illness. We have dramatically reduced the jail population in Harris County and improved the conditions of those in our custody and at the same time coming under budget four consecutive years. This isolated incident should not let this track record be forgotten.”