Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Be careful what you ask for

It's a good thing Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia failed to get his wish for constructing more jail space since the commissioners court won't approve full staffing for the facilities he runs now. Over the Sheriff's objections, they're also forcing the process of choosing jails to outsource inmates to go through a competitive bidding process.


Alan Bernstein said...

Where did you get the idea the sheriff objected to the contracting change? What he did say, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, was, "I don't have a problem with that."

Alan Bernstein
Sheriff's office

Alan Bernstein said...

Without being able to fill vacancies in existing jail facilities, the sheriff's office has to meet staffing ratios required by the state by continuing to pay overtime to already stressed employees. About 20 percent of that overtime is "mandatory." And this is "a good thing?"

Anonymous said...

Dear Alan:

Stop spending all of my tax dollars incarcerating low-level offenders on a daily routine of catch and release.

We don't need or want a new jail, whether disguised as an intake facility or not.

Try to work with HPD on cite and summons, by first having the balls to enact it at the HCSO, and lead by example. You have an opportunity to show the county that you care about the outrageous overspending by actually doing something.

And all that overtime wouldn't be necessary if you did the above, and released prisoners who weren't a threat to our safety.



Gritsforbreakfast said...

Alan, they're overriding the Sheriff's decisions which he'd defended in the past. Even the Chronicle declared it had been a "rough day" for him. Since he doesn't have the authority to contradict them, what else is he going to say?

Also, nobody said the staffing shortage is a "good thing," just that the reality of understaffing flies in the face of your boss' desire to build new jail beds, for whatever reason, when the county can't pay enough guards to adequately staff the jail it's got.

Alan Bernstein said...

Pretzel logic, good man. Since the sheriff said he didn't have a problem with it, you conclude he did. And since he had a "rough day," you decide that anything done by the court was something he had argued against before. By your lights, Howlin' Wolf and Wolfman Jack obviously had to be the same person. Welcome back anyway.

Anonymous said...

Sheriff Garcia is "between a rock and a hard spot" as the old saying goes. He is responsible for the jail operation, the welfare and safety of inmates, and the costs associated for providing such care and protection. He, like all County officials, has to go to Commissioners Court for funding in most cases and the County has implemented a hiring freeze and is trying to engage in cost reduction efforts. Sheriff Garcia was not in diagreement about "competitive bidding" for jail bed space and he indicated he was not against considering the privatization of the jail operation. It was a rough day because he did not get any relief on bieng able to hire the needed staff to properly staff the jail and reduce mandatory overtime. I believe, as he stated, that when the "bean counters" (my term) look at the cost analysis done by the HCSO they will determine that the bed space issue was well handled. I hope we hear what conclusions are drawn, but I am fearful such may not be the case if the Sheriff's Office has indeed done a prudent job.