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Sheriff: Falls County Jail not closed, inmates are back

(Photo by Matthew Ablon)
(Photo by Matthew Ablon)(KWTX)
Published: Jun. 6, 2019 at 11:05 PM CDT
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Despite rumors it was closed, the Falls County Jail is open, according to the Sheriff.

However, Ricky Scaman admits, up until Thursday, over the last two months inmates--in various numbers at varying times--have been housed in a neighboring county's jail.

On Thursday, the final batch of Falls County inmates who were incarcerated at the Limestone County Jail were transported back to their home jail in Marlin, according to Sheriff Scaman.

According to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, the Falls County Jail failed a surprise inspection on March 22: 14 violations were cited including not having enough jailers, having unlicensed jailers, not being up to health code, not properly notifying inmates of the charges filed against them, not giving inmates enough exercise, equipment failures, safety training violations, issues with documentation for inmates and inmates in-transit, and overcrowding which resulted in inmates sleeping on the ground.

After March's failed inspection, Scaman said, on his on accord and not state mandated, he sent their inmates to the Limestone County Detention Center in Groesbeck, off and on, while they worked on improvements.

He says at any given time, the number of inmates they kept or sent away would change depending on the projects and 'fixes' they were working on and how much staff they had on-site as many needed out-of-county training.

However, despite improvements, the TCJS issued a letter of non-compliance to Falls County officials after the jail failed inspection again on May 30 with one violation.

"During a review of inmate recreation logs, it was determined that staff are not offering inmates one hour of supervised physical exercise or physical recreation at least three days per week as required by minimum jail standards," the inspection report read.

Scaman told KWTX Thursday the issue was resolved.

"We've been working hard to fix these problems, and we only missed the mark by one violation which has now been corrected," said Scaman. "I'm confident we'll be back in compliance upon re-inspection, whenever that may be."

He added, the jail was back to full staff.

Besides taking in Falls County's inmates over the last couple of months, the Limestone County Jail has also been housing all of Freestone County's inmates since April.

Freestone County Sheriff Jeremy Shipley was forced to temporarily close the jail in Fairfield due to a lack of trained staff; he says they'll reopen once they get more people hired and trained.

As of Thursday, in addition to their 94 inmates, Limestone County jailers were caring for an extra 31 from Freestone County.

Sheriff Wilson said they hadn't hired more staff, they simply "make it work."

"We'll always try to help our neighbors," said Wilson.

On Tuesday, with all of Freestone's and some of Falls County inmates still present, the Limestone County Jail passed its state inspection with the TCJS.

Wilson said he was proud of his staff.

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