Judge KP George Letter to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Dear Members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice,,
Elected Officials from Fort Bend County, Texas reached out to your agency on May 6 with a list of questions to ensurethe safety & securityof our community as you ship COVID-19 convicted criminals to the Jester Unit in Richmond, Texas. As of today, we have received no communicationfrom your office on any of the questions that were sent. Our community continues to be kept in silence regarding important updates such as how many COVID-19 prisoners are in Fort Bend, how many of the staff and/or vendors have tested positive, how frequently are these individuals being tested, who do the test results get reported to, and what sanitation protocols are implemented to list a few of the questions.The full list of questions can be found here.
As a major suburban community with a population of over 800,000 people, we deserve to know what is going on. This is not a rural or isolated place. We are working around the clock to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, but with your decision to send your COVID-19 positive prisoners here and not answer any of the questions local officials have, we are beyond disappointed with the poor response of TDCJ.
As you are well aware, over 2,300 inmates and TDCJ employees are confirmed to be infected. At least 30 prisoners and 7 TDCJ employees have already died from COVID-19. Additionally, of those tested in your agency, nearly 74% had the virus which is staggeringly high compared with the state overall where less than 8% of those tested have the virus. Your refusal to address our questions during a time we are working to re-open our County reflects the immediate need for new leadership at the head of Texas Department of Criminal Justice.The leadership ofTDCJ has shown no regard for the needs and concerns of Fort Bend County residents at a time when the prison system continues to be a dangerous hot bed of COVID-19 infection.
We expect better, and I echo our neighbors in Brazoria County callingfor an immediate change to the leadership of TDCJ to restore any semblance of transparency or partnership from this state agency.
County JudgeFort Bend County