Harris County inmates sent to Louisiana in effort to control jail

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Hundreds of Harris County Jail inmates were taken to Louisiana Thursday as the sheriff tries to make sure Texas regulations can be followed at the building.

In November, state jail inspectors found the Harris County jail in violation of state standards and noted a tense and hostile environment inside the jail. It came days after a jail staffer was allegedly brutally sexually assaulted by an inmate inside her jail office. ABC13 reported other assaults inside the jail around the same time.

SEE RELATED STORY: Harris County sergeant brutally attacked and sexually assaulted by inmate, sheriff's office says

The Texas Commission on Jail Standards ordered Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to come up with a corrective plan. As part of it, 192 county inmates have been moved to a jail in Lasalle Parish, Louisiana.

SEE RELATED: 2 Harris County detention officers attacked in jail, authorities say

The jail is northeast of Alexandria, about five hours from Houston. The sheriff's office told ABC13 that about 300 more inmates will follow in coming days, and it will all be paid for by Harris County taxpayers.

The sheriff's office says the transferred inmates are almost all men awaiting trial in "generally acceptable health with court dates set approximately 40-45 days out." Inmates in high risk or special circumstances will not be eligible for transfer.

ABC13 was told that this is an effort to lower the population and give detention staff a chance to come into compliance.

SEE MORE: Harris County Jail inspection report shows troubling staffing shortage impacting inmates and staff
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