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Dallas jails fail inspection seventh straight time

March 31, 2009
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DALLAS — After spending millions of dollars and several years improving the jail system, the state deemed the Dallas County jails unacceptable for a seventh straight time, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Inspectors noted broken toilets, dirty and "severely clogged" air vents, remote-controlled doors that wouldn''t open or close properly, broken intercoms, a slow response to fire drills, inadequate smoke detection and removal systems, inadequate staffing, improper mixing of high- and low-security inmates and numerous plumbing problems, the story stated.
Sheriff Lupe Valdez said: "It is important to note that our staff continues to work tirelessly each and every day to provide the best service to the community. We accept responsibility for areas that we can improve upon."
The Dallas County jail system is the seventh largest in the nation and hasn''t passed a state inspection since 2003; in addition, the jails remain under a federal court order to improve medical and mental health care, sanitation and fire safety systems, the story noted.
If the violations are serious enough, the state jail commission can shut down the facility and force the county to spend millions of dollars to send its prisoners elsewhere, the story added.
According to the story, the county has 30 days to submit a written response regarding the problems, and when the Texas Commission on Jail Standards holds a regular meeting in May, Dallas County officials will be expected to appear with an update.
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