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Jail Commission Review Process Underway

By Laura Nicholes
TAC Legislative Staff

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) met Nov. 2-3 under the leadership of Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger. The agency is continuing its review of minimum jail standards.

The Commission is encouraging sheriffs, county commissioners courts, jailers, advocacy groups and others interested in jail standards to participate in discussions and submit comments regarding support or concerns to specific standards. TCJS will host quarterly workshops the afternoon prior to each of its quarterly meetings.

The first workshop was held Nov. 2; comments and discussions primarily included the processes and procedures by which TCJS will review jail standards in 2012. Klaeger set a goal to review all the minimum jail standards in an organized, time efficient manner in an open forum by year end 2012. A standardized form for submitting comments is being prepared by TCJS staff and will be forwarded to stakeholders through list serves, County Progress magazine and the commission website.

“[The workshops] will allow TCJS to hear comments, have open discussions on Standards, and to receive input and information so that we will be able to make informed decisions during the review process,” said Klaeger. “There will be no action taken during the workshops.

“Some issues will require more information, history, possible legal opinions, and stakeholder input. In those instances, the chair will appoint a committee of stakeholders to meet as needed to discuss, with the goal to bring a consensus recommendation on the issue back to the commission.”

Timelines to review each of the 36 chapters of standards are as follows:

 

Comments received by the deadline will be posted as an attachment to the corresponding Workshop Agenda to provide an opportunity for review. TCJS will include a review of history, legislation and legal actions pertaining to the standards as points of reference prior to posting.

“We have set up a very precise schedule so that you will know well in advance what standards are up for review,” Klaeger said. “Members of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards are looking forward to hearing from you during this review process.”

Klaeger encouraged those interested in jail standards to take the time to discuss the issues with county stakeholders, including judges, commissioners court, sheriffs, jailers and bailiffs.

If you have suggestions about the process, forward them to Chair Judge Donna Klaeger at .