Dallas County Jails (Finally) Pass State Inspection

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    The Dallas County jail system has passed its state inspection for the first time in eight years.

    The Dallas County jail system has passed its state inspection for the first time in eight years.

    The Texas Commission on Jail Standards completed their tests of the smoke detection system Wednesday in the north tower of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, the county's main jail.

    Commission Executive Director Adan Munoz said that aside from minor glitches, the smoke detection system works properly.

    The north tower's smoke system had been the main obstacle to the jail system's compliance with state standards. The inspection completed Wednesday was a follow-up to one done earlier this year.

    "It was quite a feat to overcome," Munoz said.

    A host of problems had plagued the facility for much of the last decade, including fire safety issues such as broken fire alarms and rusted fans that weren't working.

    "It's a building that has given us substantial problems," Munoz said.

    Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said it had been 17 years since the smoke detection system had been worked on.

    County Commissioner John Price said part of the reason for that was less strict compliance standards.

    The commission found minor glitches with the smoke removal system on the second floor of the north tower. Until the problem is fixed, the 24 beds on that floor will not be used, Munoz said.

    The problem with the second floor was not sufficient for a failing grade, however.

    The county has spent $137 million over the last six years making improvements to the jail system, $20 million of which has been spent on improvements to the north tower.

    The jail system had failed inspections in the past for issues including sanitation, medical care and overpopulation.

    The system has five jails and is currently holding 7,188 inmates.