For just the third time in its 40-year history, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards has shut down a jail, reports the Texas Tribune. The panel voted 5-3 to close the Frio County lockup after it repeatedly failed to meet state standards. The jail in Pearsall, southwest of San Antonio, has failed four inspections since 2013. The jail, which housed only two inmates yesterday, is to be emptied by the end of the month, and people arrested in Frio County will be taken to other counties.
In 2011, private jail vendor Geo Group returned management of what was once a 391-bed jail to the Frio County Sheriff’s Office. The county reclassified the facility as a smaller “lockup” that would keep those arrested for no more than 72 hours before transferring them to adjacent county jails. Violations have included a lack of testing of generators, a non-working fire alarm control panel and, more recently, keeping inmates far longer than 72 hours. In some cases those inmates were being held 10 days and longer. The commission, which regulates the 244 county jails in Texas, was established in 1975. Since then the commission has shut down two other jails, in Calhoun and Howard counties. Both later came back into compliance.