WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A relative of a Wichita County Jail inmate is concerned for inmates after hearing reports of new restrictions with COVID-19.
Jessica Hiner’s relative has been in the Wichita County jail for about 3 weeks. In that time, Hiner’s relative says a vast majority of inmates have not received their mail until recently and they have not received the items they would normally obtain from the jail’s commissary.
“They are allowed to receive basic hygiene,” Hiner said. “And the basic hygiene comes from the same location as the food commissary. So all the commissary that they’ve ordered they’ve not been able to receive it.”
According to Wichita County Sheriff David Duke, hours have been cut for the administrative staff so there is not a lot of time to go through the mail. Jail officials are also holding mail for up to three days to make sure contaminated mail doesn’t infect the population.
“The holding pattern is for three days before the clerk gets it,” Sheriff Duke said. “When she comes in, she’s got only a couple hours a day she’s restricted to. As much stuff comes in for commissary, it’s quite a bit when you’ve got about 400 to 500 inmates in a jail.”
Sheriff Duke also says four inmates have tested negative for COVID-19 and new inmates are constantly observed for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days. But Hiner’s relative says that’s not the case.
“You said they’re checking the temperatures of the correctional officers. Are they checking the inmates?”
“No, no,” Hiner said.
“Are they checking them for any coronavirus symptoms?”
“No,” Hiner said.
“Has he said if there’s been any testing at all?”
“No there has not been. I have been asking. And that is all recorded but no they’re not,” Hiner said.
While Hiner has her concerns about her relative and other inmates, Sheriff Duke says these inmates have nothing to worry about.
“They’re safer now in the jail than they would be if they were out running the streets or going here and there doing the things that they normally would,” Sheriff Duke said.
Even though Hiner and her relative fear retaliation from correctional officers, Hiner wants the inmates to be heard.
“I just want my voice heard for their voice. Speak for them,” Hiner said.
Hiner says she called jail officials to voice her concerns but they could only tell her that there will be no visitors at this time.