Wichita County Jail Passes State Inspection

- The Wichita County jail, both the downtown and Sprague unit, passed the annual inspection by state jail officials.

Although the Texas Commission on Jail Standards requires jails to have an infirmary that is something the Wichita County jails do not have.

However, because county officials are working on expanding the sprague unit to include an infirmary the commission is allowing the jail to stay open but Sheriff David Duke says that's not the only thing the jail needs to meet standards.

The Texas Commission Jail Standards inspected the Wichita County jail June 30th through July 1st but Sheriff Duke says the certificate of completion arrived last week. Although the jail passed the minimum standards required by the commission, Sheriff Duke says there was one big variance the commission granted the jail.

"The only variance we have is at the downtown old part of the jail that's dealing with like the showers.  The height of the showers in the old facility.  Once we close that, before we could reopen it the county would have to go back in and raise those ceilings in those showers," Sheriff Duke says.

Sheriff Duke says the raised ceiling and shower heads would make it harder for  inmates to try to hang themselves. According to Duke, this facility failed inspection four consecutive years before he took office.

He says he worked with the jail commission to make changes that brought passing grades.
And he says it's paying off even though it's costing a lot of overtime pay to keep all shifts covered because of the high turnover rate.

Duke says 150 of the sheriff office's 220 employees work in the jail. He says when the jail expansion project is approved he expects it to operated with no variances.

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