Jail inspection shows great cleanliness, some room to improve

MARFA — The Presidio County jail has at times faced challenges meeting certain standards during inspections by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, but at the annual inspection this year, the county passed with few issues and some high praises.

A jail inspection involves not just the physical building, according to Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. Founded in 1975 by the Texas Legislature, the government agency “looks at everything from the locks, intercoms and toilets, to the actual inmate files to make sure they were booked and classified properly,” Wood said.

They also ensure cleanliness, and on that note, the jail inspector made a special note that the Presidio County facility was found to be very clean and well maintained during the inspection, which happens at an unannounced time every year.

The inspector also speaks with inmates, reviews complaints and walks through the entire site. Across the entire inspection, there was only one area that the inspector said needed correction. The facility received a notice of noncompliance that had to do with inmate discipline procedure.

Anytime an inmate violates a jailhouse rule, the jail makes records and can hold a hearing to determine whether the inmate violated a rule. Once the hearing ends, they can assess penalties, such as time in segregation or suspension of privileges.

“Part of that process is the inmate has to be given 24 hours notice prior to the hearing taking place, it’s considered due process and what the inspector found was the jail was not doing that in this case,” said Wood. “That was the only thing that was determined to be significant enough to issue a notice of noncompliance.”

The jail has a chance to resolve their noncompliance by submitting a corrective plan of action that will be reviewed. Wood explained, “Once they demonstrate they have a pattern of compliance we will reinspect and then certify them.”

Jail administrator Gracie Parras could not comment on the inspection, and the request was forwarded to Sheriff Danny Dominguez who did not respond.

Issues that can be resolved quickly on site don’t count against the jail in the inspection. Wood said there were one or two employees that didn’t get the life-saving training immediately upon employment, “but they did manage to address that.”

“We’ve had some tough times previously, but they’ve done an excellent job and I’m very proud of this last inspection,” Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara said. In recent years, the jail has had to close as the county repaired water leaks into electrical wiring and replaced the entire HVAC system in order to be in compliance with jail standards.

“Many sections of the roof had to be repaired to pass inspection to open up again, and the whole jail inside was detailed, from shower heads to drains to all of the painting. It looked really good, and they’ve kept it up and maintained it,” said Guevara.