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Jail Suicide Attorney – Hill County Jail in Hillsboro, Texas, is Cited for 10 Alleged Violations of Minimum Jail Standards, Including those Related to Suicide Prevention

Hillsboro City Hall Historic
Historic Hillsboro City Hall in Hillsboro, Texas (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) recently conducted an investigation of Hill County Jail in Hillsboro, Texas. On April 16, 2018, a Jail Inspection Report was released. The inspectors with TCJS allege that Hill County Jail violated 10 minimum jail standards. Some of the alleged violations are related to required measures designed to prevent prisoners from committing suicide in jail.

Suicides in county jails are a real concern. Last week, on May 1, 2018, 22-year-old Daniel Martinez died in Potter County jail in Amarillo, Texas. An autopsy revealed that he committed suicide. A special jail inspection report will eventually be filed in connection with the custodial death. As standard procedure when a Texas prisoner dies while in the custody of a county jail or other facilities under the jurisdiction of TCJS, an inspection will be done of Potter County jail. Documents and surveillance videos will be scrutinized, as inspectors seek to determine whether minimum jail standards were adhered to during all events surrounding the tragic fatality.

In the case of Hill County Jail, the following are among the alleged violations related to suicide prevention that were cited in the Jail Inspection Report:

  • TCJS inspectors found that the jail staff exceeded the required 15-minute observations of prisoners on suicide precautions. In addition, jailers routinely exceeded both 15-minute observations and mandatory 30-minute observations, investigators say.
  • A random selection of observation logs were reviewed, and inspectors say jailers exceeded the time frames for face-to-face observations of prisoners who are mentally ill, potentially suicidal, assaultive, and confined for demonstrating bizarre behavior.
  • The general population of prisoners is supposed to be observed in face-to-face observations from 1 minute to 31 minutes continually as well as every 60 minutes maximum.

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–Guest Contributor

Written By: author image smchugh
author image smchugh