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Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Thomas’

Chron overview of the Sheriff races

The candidate who isn’t there nonetheless plays a central role. Appointed incumbent Ron Hickman faces two repeat challengers in the GOP primary, while four others, including former Houston City Councilman Ed Gonzalez battle for the Democratic nomination. The candidates square off in an election year when criminal justice issues are on the forefront of the […]

Chron overview of Sheriff primaries

No, it’s not 2008, though there are a couple of superficial similarities. On paper, Ed Gonzalez is a near-replica of former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia. The Latino Democrats served in the Houston Police Department and represented the same district on City Council. Eventually, both were appointed mayors pro-tem. Now, eight years after Garcia unseated […]

Separating the Sheriff and the jail

As Commissioners Court prepares to name a replacement Sheriff, they have some bigger plans to discuss as well. A revolutionary idea is being pitched that would reshape the law enforcement agency by removing the troubled jail from the sheriff’s responsibilities. One county commissioner is leading the charge to create a new jail administrator who would […]

More on disciplining deputies

Here’s another long Chron story about disciplinary statistics for Harris County Sheriff’s deputies. Reading through it, I felt like there was some context missing. A Houston Chronicle review of disciplinary records indicates that from 2008 through 2010, more than 200 jail employees were disciplined for various offenses, some serious and others minor. Last year, the […]

Fewer inmate deaths

More good news for the Sheriff’s office. The number of inmates who have died while in Harris County detention has plummeted during the last three years, a decline that Sheriff Adrian Garcia described as “deeply satisfying” but could not explain. Three county prisoners died last year, down from 11 in 2010, and 16 in 2009, […]

Disciplining deputies

The Chron has a long story about the disciplinary issues at the Sheriff’s Department. A Houston Chronicle review of Sheriff’s Office discipline reports from 2007 to August provides a sobering look into a department plagued by deputies, jailers and civilians accused of violating laws they are charged to enforce and breaking department policies more than […]

Still cleaning up Tommy Thomas’ mess

Some stains take a long time to scrub out. The U.S. Justice Department is proceeding with an investigation of Harris County sheriff’s operations, after county leaders refused to enter into a civil rights settlement with the government or hire an independent monitor. The investigation was sparked by the discovery of emails from sheriff’s commanders – […]

Jail privatization

Does anyone really think that privatizing the Harris County Jail would be a good idea? The suggestion comes from Commissioner Steve Radack, who said the item is a way for the county to examine all ways of cutting costs as budget cuts take hold and scores of county workers are laid off. “We need to […]

It’s getting cheaper to outsource inmates

Now how much would you pay to ship your excess inmates somewhere else? The county now can send an inmate to Louisiana for as low as $23 a day. Changes to the deal with the private Emerald Correctional Management also now have the company picking up the transportation tab that Harris County used to pay. […]

Eversole and Radack get jail overcrowding religion

Actually, what County Commissioners Jerry Eversole and Steve Radack have is a case of criticize-the-Sheriff-itis. Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole implied at meeting earlier today that the county’s sheriff, Adrian Garcia, acted improperly and wasted tax payer money when he moved inmates from a jail in Lousiana to a jail in Texas. “If I were […]

The Sheriff versus the deputies

I continue to be surprised at how antagonistic this relationship has been. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia on Friday released a long-promised “Bill of Rights” for deputies under investigation by the department, but three deputies’ unions criticized the sheriff for not providing the same protections he enjoyed as a Houston police officer. They insist Garcia […]

There’s a fix for that

As we know, Harris County has a budget shortfall of its own to deal with. So the fact that the Sheriff’s Office is spending more than it was allotted is drawing some scrutiny. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is projected to overspend its annual budget by $51 million, the third straight year it has blown […]

County pays off last bill related to Ibarra brothers lawsuit

Merry Christmas. Harris County Commissioners Court agreed [Tuesday] to pay the last of what has amounted to more than $4 million in bills related to a lawsuit brought by two men who said they were wrongfully arrested after one of them videotaped sheriff’s deputies during a drug raid. The commissioners approved a settlement that calls […]

Harris County disputes federal criticism of its jails

This is interesting. Harris County officials today delivered a 300-page response to the U. S. attorney general’s findings that the Harris County Jail was unconstitutional, saying the report was largely based on anecdotal accounts from inmates and incomplete data. County Attorney Vince Ryan said his staff will deliver a voluminous response to the 24-page report […]

The exodus from the DA’s office

The Chron writes about disgruntlement in the DA’s office. Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos promised to clean house when she was elected in November and promptly fired seven senior prosecutors. Now other experienced prosecutors, including a member of Lykos’ upper echelon, are leaving, citing a lack of communication and a toxic work environment. With […]

Feds’ report on Harris County jails

Still a lot of people dying in the jails here, at least as of the last federal inspection. Their experiences are detailed in a U.S. Department of Justice report, completed last week and obtained Monday by the Houston Chronicle, which found that conditions at the jail violate inmates’ constitutional rights. Justice officials have declined to […]

Garcia’s plan to fix the jails

Sheriff Adrian Garcia is off to Austin to explain how he’s going to fix problems with the Harris County jails. Garcia, who took office in January, inherited a massive downtown detention system under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and under scrutiny for its overcrowding, as well as poor sanitation and access to medical treatment. […]

There’s always an excuse to not do it

Sorry, but this sounds like carping to me. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has nearly tripled the number of investigators assigned to an expanded Office of Inspector General to handle what he described as a “tremendous” backlog of unresolved complaints against jailers and deputies stretching back two years. The reorganization has drawn mixed reviews. The […]

Red, white, blue, and hopefully back

I’m glad to see that the KUHT political program The Connection: Red, White, and Blue is on its way back to the airwaves after an unplanned hiatus followed by a bit of a kerfuffle. It fills a very useful niche in the local media landscape – as the story notes, it was the only place […]

Harris County tackles jail overcrowding

Well, what do you know? Harris County’s burgeoning jail population is expected to swell to 12,600 this spring, prompting newly elected officials to take a fresh look at ways to alleviate overcrowding, including releasing low-risk offenders. The new sheriff, district attorney and eight new criminal district court judges will consider ideas championed for years by […]