Texas Department of Criminal Justice suspending transport of inmates

The Texas department of criminal justice has announced they are suspending the transport of inmates following the tragic killing of five people in Centerville last week allegedly by escaped inmate Gonzalo Lopez. According to a statement from TDCJ, the suspension will remain until the agency conducts a comprehensive review of its transportation procedures. 

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Texas Department of Criminal Justice to Resume In-Person Visits With Clean COVID-19 Test

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice says they’ll once again allow in-person visitation at all state jails beginning Monday, but there are a few stipulations including that all guests must pass a rapid COVID-19 test before entering the jail. Visitation was suspended March 13, 2020 after a disaster declaration was issued by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

The TDCJ said the decision was “necessary to limit the introduction of COVID-19 into correctional facilities and that through an aggressive testing campaign and strong mitigation efforts, the agency has seen a significant reduction of coronavirus cases in the inmate population and is prepared to begin allowing limited visitation.”

According to the TDCJ, visitors will have to take a 15-minute rapid COVID-19 test at the jail before being allowed inside. Once inside, the guest can stay for up to one hour but no contact will be allowed, barriers will be in place and no items can be exchanged. “The entire visit seating area and phones will be sanitized routinely with a 10% bleach solution or vital oxide,” the TDCJ said.

The TDCJ said all visitors must wear appropriate face covering as they approach the highway gate check point. Should they not have one, a mask will be provided. Hand sanitizer will also be available to visitors. Staff assigned to visitation areas will be required to wear N95 masks and gloves. Sanitation stations will be available in visitation areas. Further, inmates will only be allowed two in-person visits per month, for now, and only one adult can visit at a time. Video visits will not count against the number of in-person visits each month.

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