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Ellis County Jail Cited by State for Failing to Supervise Escapee

Silhouette of barbed wires and watchtower of prison.

A special jail inspection was conducted at Ellis County Jail in Rankin, Texas, on May 20, 2024. The next day, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) sent the jail a notice of non-compliance. Ellis County Jail was cited for allegedly violating one minimum jail standard related to the supervision of inmates. According to the TCJS inspector, the escape of a detainee was reviewed. It was determined that one inmate went unobserved for more than 3 hours before he was discovered missing.

Ellis County Jail’s address is 300 S. Jackson Street in Waxahachie, Texas 75165. The bed capacity at the Waxahachie jail is 859.

How Common Are Jail Escapes in Texas?

A guard was overpowered with a homemade knife in a Texas jail two decades ago when four inmates broke out of jail. The detainees were two convicted killers and two men suspected of murder. Two of the four had been serving life sentences for murdering a high school cheerleader in Oklahoma. The two others were charged with killing an elderly couple, and they were pending trial.

This jailbreak raised questions about security and overcrowding in Texas county jails. The news article states that more than 141 escapes from Texas jails occurred in 2001. In 85 of the jail escapes were a result of detainees simply walking away from jails or work camps. Guards were overpowered or inmates tunneled out in 56 of the escapes.

Restraints are Sometimes Used to Prevent an Escape

The Texas Administrative Code has rules related to escapes, and they include instances when a detainee is placed in restraints to prevent an escape. The least restrictive restraints necessary should be used on a detainee who is being prevented from escaping.

Training Can Help Prevent Escapes

Jail staff members are trained to engage in different activities aimed at helping to prevent escapes. Preventing suicides is another priority, as suicide is the leading cause of death of inmates in Texas. Jail staff engages in the following activities:

  • Search for contraband
  • Control disruptive detainees
  • Keep an open ear for chatter about plans for escape or suicide
  • Watch for physical breaches in security
  • Carefully observe detainees
  • Take notice of usual staff and inmate behavior

Volunteers Can Help Prevent Escapes

An example of jail staff working with volunteers to help prevent possible jail deaths:

  • A jail deputy sheriff supervised civilian volunteers, and on two occasions volunteers reported instances when inmates showed symptoms of being suicidal. Several female inmates informed a volunteer that another fellow inmate was depressed about her situation. They suspected that she had been hoarding her medications for the purpose of committing suicide. Deputies and mental health staff intervened. The stash was discovered, and the woman’s life was saved.
  • In another instance, a volunteer reported that a despondent inmate asked to see his mother and a priest. In this case, as well, mental health professionals and correctional staff managed to intervene.

Do You Think a Loved One May Have Died Because of Jail Neglect?

At the Law Offices of Dean Malone, we have experience representing the loved ones of jail inmates who died of jail neglect. We have a team working on several jail deaths. Time is of the essence in jail neglect cases. So we urge potential victims of jail neglect to contact us as soon as possible. Contact us 24/7 to schedule your free case evaluation. You can reach us by phone call, text, or our online form.


Written By: author image smchugh
author image smchugh