WEATHERFORD — Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler is pleased to announce the Parker County Jail received an award for 100 percent compliance by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards this week.
Sheriff Fowler said the jail underwent a complete three-day inspection earlier this week, surpassing minimum jail standards set by the commission.
“The feat is outstanding,” Fowler said. “We’re obviously very proud of the warden and jail staff for exceeding standards set by the state. They have done a terrific job.”
Warden Ron King was sent with Community Education Centers in August 2007, when the corporation was contracted by the county to maintain the jail. King said many factors play a key role when attempting to pass a vigorous inspection.
“We are continuously preparing for such inspections,” King said. “We are ready at any given time for inspection and are confident in our standards in which we strive to excel.”
The recognition comes to the jail and Sheriff’s Office for the second consecutive year. In late 2007, the jail consisted of a 36-member staff for 189 inmates. Since the county’s approval of expanding the jail, it has grown to house 448 inmates with 103 staff members. The improvements included canceling out-of-county housing contracts, saving tax payers money with a 90-percent average occupancy rate.
“We have grown to improve jail standards with full medical and kitchen facilities,” King said. “In 2009, the addition of housing U.S. Marshal’s inmates has allowed us to alleviate a tax burden by adding a certain per diem back to the general fund.”
For every three U.S. Marshal’s inmates housed at the Parker County Jail, one county inmate’s housing costs are paid for.
“It’s a win-win situation for tax payers,” King said.
During the unannounced inspection, inmates were randomly chosen and interviewed to ensure their minimum needs are met as per state regulations. Each cell was inspected including the water and air temperature and pressure, all logs, books and records as well as the kitchen and medical facilities.
The three-day inspection resulted in 22-hours of recording, checking, re-checking and logging every aspect of the jail and how it is conducted on a daily basis.
The life-safety portion of the inspection is considered the most difficult, King said. Fire drills are conducted without notice. The state mandates that two emergency responders are expected to be ready at a moment’s notice in a fire situation.
During the inspection, King said six emergency jail responders geared up including the use of self-contained breathing apparatus in 1.28 minutes.
“We are out to benefit Parker County, the jail and the Sheriff’s Office in every way imaginable,” King said.
Fowler said he is pleased with King and the jail staff for their prompt response and preparedness.
“The state mandates a standard which can be difficult to pass in every area,” Fowler said. “Yet, to pass the inspection with complete compliance in all areas with no deficiencies is remarkable.”
Parker County Judge Mark Riley praised Sheriff Fowler, Warden King and the staff for their recognition from the commission.
“Sheriff Fowler, his staff and CEC are to be commended for achieving a high standard of compliance with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards,” Judge Riley said. “For the second year in a row, inspectors have been very complimentary of the jail and the operation. This reinforces the court’s decision to proceed several years ago with constructing additional jail beds in a timely fashion instead of delaying for further study. That decision put us in the position to negotiate a favorable contract with CEC to oversee the daily operations of the jail. The ultimate winners of this arrangement are the taxpayers of Parker County.”