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State, county jails react to COVID-19 pandemic

Both the Lindsey State Jail and Jack County Jail are doing what they can to manage the COVID-19 virus at their respective facilities.

In a letter to the public, Lindsey State Jail officials are following directives from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to stop the spread of the disease and have implemented everything. The jail is also following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to minimize risk to both the men and women in custody, as well as jail staff.

Policies were in place for dealing with infectious diseases such as measles and chicken pox, which have been adapted to respond to the unique challenges of the pandemic.

Some of the measures taken include implementing an incident command system whereby clear lines of communication are established to organize resources, implement, monitor and assess safety practices; and to work closely with local health officials.

The jail is also ensuring they provide staff in critical positions throughout this pandemic include making sure those in their care have all their needs met, such as food and medical care.

According to the letter, the jail is also increasing the cleaning and sanitation of facilities and ensuring hygiene supplies are readily available, educating staff and offenders in the facilities about preventative measures and are limiting interactions that could result in exposure to this virus, which includes an ending of in-person visitation while increasing phone visitations.

Jack County Sheriff Thomas Spurlock said the county jail has been very cautious of who they are letting in to the facility.

“We’ve only had one or two (new inmates) since this all started, but when they are, they’re at the sally port. We take their temperature to make sure they’re not running a fever. If they are, we’d send them to the ER to get them cleared,” Spurlock said. “We have gloves, masks and sanitizer for the jailers at the sally port.”

Spurlock said the courthouse cleaning crew was expected to come out earlier this week and sanitize and disinfect bathrooms at the jail and law enforcement center. The public is encouraged to clean their hands out in the LEC lobby.

The sheriff said to mitigate any issues, the public is asked to call the LEC at 940-567-2161 with concerns and other issues.

“Now for things like assault or domestic violence, we will send a deputy out on a personal call,” Spurlock explained. “If it’s a report or something, we prefer to handle that here.”

Spurlock said the Jacksboro Police Department has sent directives that they were handling calls in much the same fashion to protect its officers.