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Harris County Sheriff's Office
Thursday September 8th, 2022 :: 01:40 p.m. CDT


Harris County Courts Backlog Places Jail in Non-Compliance Status

Sept. 8, 2022 – The Texas Commission on Jail Standards has determined the Harris County Jail is out of compliance with state standards because of the overcrowding situation.

Specifically, jail inspectors identified instances in which 64 people spent more than the maximum 48 hours in the booking area’s holding cells. The Sheriff’s Office is now required to submit a corrective action plan of action within 30 days.

Harris County’s backlog of pending criminal cases has swelled since 2017, when Hurricane Harvey caused major structural damage to the courthouse building.

The backlog continued to grow during the pandemic, as public health concerns prevented courts from conducting in-person hearings and trials at their usual pace.

There are currently 10,343 people housed in the jail, while an additional 597 have been sent to a jail in La Salle Parish, La.

This represents the first time the jail population has exceeded 10,000 in over a decade. Nearly half of the people currently in custody are charged with violent crimes.

Harris County recently signed a contract to begin housing up to 600 more people at a jail facility in Garza County.

The introduction of telemedicine, additional health care staff, and other steps are also being taken to expedite medical and mental health screenings during the booking process.

In addition, Harris County Commissioners Court has made significant investments to tackle the criminal courts case backlog.

Harris County Sheriff's Office
1200 Baker St
Houston, TX 77002

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 713-221-6000

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