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Harris County Commissioner Gene L. Locke said today he is stunned to hear about the recent inmate deaths in the Harris County Jail, including four who died since May 2015 following assaults or head trauma.
“Any in-custody death is unacceptable, and to hear that four people died while in jail awaiting trial in Harris County is embarrassing and disgraceful,” Commissioner Locke said. “The inmates’ families deserve answers, and the people of Harris County are entitled to know that their public servants are safely operating a place of confinement, which is meant to be temporary, and not a death chamber for inmates who have not been given a bond hearing or convicted of the crimes for which they have been accused.”
Commissioner Locke demanded Sheriff Hickman institute other jail reforms and take immediate steps to increase jail staffing and training. Additionally, Commissioner Locke insisted the sheriff hire a certified jail administrator who is accountable to the people of Harris County.
“The status quo will not continue under my watch,” Commissioner Locke said.
Commissioner Locke said he plans to ask Sheriff Hickman to meet with him to outline the corrective measures he plans to make at the Harris County Jail and to report those plans to commissioners’ court.