In August, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator John Whitmire announced that the state will conduct an interim study on jail safety standards and practices. The announcement followed the in-custody suicides of several county jail inmates, as well as the high-profile death of Sandra Bland in June, which sparked nationwide protest concerning inmate treatment.
Renovations to many of the Johnson County Jail’s security systems and controls began in April and were completed earlier this month. The jail, located in Iowa City, now has new door locks, cameras and an upgraded control room.
Work is officially underway on the new Seward County Justice Center, which will combine the county’s sheriff’s office, courts, attorney’s office, emergency dispatch center, public defender’s office and probation programs. The new $15 million facility may take up to two years to complete, but the county hopes to begin transferring inmates by the winter of 2017.
Facing closure for being out of compliance with state regulations, the current Marion County 20-bed jail, located in Yellville, now faces potential replacement by a new, 62-bed jail costing an estimated $7.2 million.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered the stoppage of all work on the contentious Orleans Parish Prison on June 24, only to have a civil district judge rule in favor of the sheriff’s office and temporarily order progress to resume on June 26. Work will now continue until July 8, when a hearing will take place to decide the project’s next move.