Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has released a letter to the United States Department of Justice that concludes there is no evidence Harris County subjected any inmates in the county jail system to “egregious or flagrant conditions” depriving inmates of their constitutional rights.
In the letter dated Nov. 9, Ryan said the United States Marshal Service found the Harris County Jail System to be “fully compliant with the USMS detention standards.”
Ryan said this latest report “evidences that the Harris County Jail System meets legal standards in the way it treats prisoners.”
The jail system has been criticized over prisoner deaths, overcrowding, poor sanitation and questionable access to medical treatment. Those complaints sparked an investigation into jail conditions by the Justice Department.
The letter was one of a series Ryan’s office has sent to the DOJ in connection with that agency’s investigation into the conditions of prisoners’ confinement in the jail system.
The Marshal Service houses about 58,500 detainees each day; most of whom are confined in state and local jails across the United States, including the Harris County Jail System. The USMS Conditions Confinement Program monitors non-federal facilities to ensure the facilities are safe, humane and protect detainee’s rights. The Marshal Service issued a Detention Facility Investigative Report in September finding that the county’s jail system was in full compliance.
The USMS report covered eight areas, including administration, health care, security, food service, communication, safety, services and programs and workforce integrity.
After assessing the jail conditions, the Marshal Service determined the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has adequate policies, procedures, and processes in place to meet USMS standards.
The Marshal Service will continue to place its detainees in the Harris County Jail System.