Several deficiencies noted in June have been addressed

Christopher Maher, Jim Wells County Correspondent

Duval County officials announced this week the Duval County jail has passed a state inspection on quality, after years of problems at the facility.

The jail, which has capacity for 38 inmates, was inspected this week by officials from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

Sgt. Bruno Valdez, with the Duval County Sheriff's Department, said the jail passed inspection on all 15 required elements. Among those are annual jail report information, life safety drills and checks, kitchen and meal inspections, supervision and staffing, sanitation checks, discipline and offense reports, grievances and complaints, classification of inmates, recreation logs, operational plans, commissary, medical files and a walk-through of the facility.

An inspection in June revealed several deficiencies, Valdez said, which included lack of hot water, low water flow and improper smoke alarm covers, among others.

Those problems have been corrected, however, and the jail passed inspection with no negative findings this week, Valdez said.

The Duval county jail has had numerous problems as a result of improper renovation done to the structure in 1998. The county was awarded nearly $4 million in compensation last year through a lawsuit filed by Duval County against companies responsible for faulty construction in a 1998 addition to the county jail and courthouse. In January, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards was called to Duval County after inmates complained about the temperature in the jail.

At that time, TCJS officials reportedly instructed jail officials to make improvements to the jail's air conditioning system.