Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez says that it will take more staff and money to fix many problems outlined in two recent reports critical of the way the county jail operates, the Dallas Morning News says. A study of jail health programs last month highlighted problems including a lack of staff, too few jail guards to escort staff and inmates on sick calls, and inadequate facilities, all of which exacerbated inmates’ illnesses. A state inspection failed the jail for the second year running, citing several problems including an intake area designed for 63 inmates that was holding up to 350 at a time.
Valdez defended her decision to remain silent for the first 2 and one-half months of her tenure, despite the many jail-related problems making headlines. “I was elected to do a job, and it wasn’t to be out in the media all the time,” she said. Richard Stoll, a political science professor at Rice University, said a publicly elected official should be available to explain new policies to the public. “We in the public should have a lot of information about what our public officials are doing, to evaluate whether we elected the right people,” he said.