Johnson County, Texas finally received approval in late September to proceed with Phase I construction on its increasingly inadequate jail in Cleburne. The project will improve and modernize the 870-bed facility, built in 1989, expanding its capacity by more than 200 beds.
Less than two weeks after opening a new $150 million jail in New Orleans last month, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman asked U.S. District Judge Lance Africk to okay construction on another facility that would bring even more inmate beds to the city.
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.