Harris County Jailers Forgot About Two Inmates Locked in Van for 10 Hours

Harris County Jailers Forgot About Two Inmates Locked in Van for 10 Hours
Meagan Flynn
click to enlarge MEAGAN FLYNN
Meagan Flynn
Somehow, two Harris County Jail detention officers left two inmates trapped in the back of a van without food or water for ten hours earlier this month.

That's according to a brief report from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, which slapped Harris County on the wrist for being out of compliance with jail standards for the episode. According to the inspection report, two male inmates were left in the back of a transport van's security compartment from 3:30 in the morning until 1:30 in the afternoon that day, on April 2.

Locked inside, the inmates had no way of communicating with jail staff, and in order to get help, they apparently had to just keep banging on the van.  "A member of the public had to report hearing a noise from the van that was parked on the street outside of the facility," the inspector wrote.

According to Harris County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ryan Sullivan, the two detention officers have been permanently removed from inmate transport duties.

Asked how this happened and whether the detention officers had perhaps flouted rules about head-counting or something of the like, Sullivan said he couldn't comment on more details because an investigation is pending with the Administrative Disciplinary Committee.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn