Exclusive: Tour of Waller Co. Jail following Bland settlement

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Inside look at new procedures at Waller County jail after settlement

Built in the early '80s, the Waller County Jail may not look the best, but now it could be safer for inmates.

Eyewitness News received an exclusive tour of the jail Wednesday. A new EMT as well as an electronic monitoring system are among several changes made at the lockup since the death of Sandra Bland last summer.

"Any tragic situation, whether it be Sandra Bland, whether it be something as small as a vehicle pursuit, it's our job, it's our duty to look at what happened and make changes for the better," Waller County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Brian Cantrell said.

The attorney representing Sandra Bland's family said previously that a jailer didn't check on Bland as often as required by state law. The Harris County Medical Examiner ruled Bland's death a suicide.

"Each door through the jail has a button on it. It will make that beep to let you know it made contact and recorded it," Deputy Sheriff's Lieutenant Sherry Rochen said about the new monitoring system that verifies jailers make their rounds.

SEE ALSO: Waller County approves Sandra Bland wrongful death lawsuit settlement

The information is relayed to a computer which then produces a detailed time log of jailers' rounds.

Student activists at Prairie View A&M University are glad to hear about the changes. But, sophomore Ervin Bryant wants more.

"Any improvements are remiss without the improvement of community relations," Bryant said, "The big thing with Prairie View, the way our police department is successful is having a good relationship with the students. So, if we could understand, empathize more, communicate more clearly and effectively with Waller County, I think that would help the relationship altogether."

As a direct result of the Bland wrongful death lawsuit settlement, Waller County commissioners hired a new EMT to work inside the jail in conjunction with the nurse and doctor.

Also, jail employees are using a new intake form to better screen inmates for mental health problems.
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