80ºF

TDCJ reports 3 positive COVID-19 tests

Inmate, staff employee and contract worker test positive

HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Three people within the Texas prison system have tested positive for Coronavirus, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier said.

Collier shared that information during a live question and answer session Friday on TDCJ’s Facebook page.

He identified the three infected people as an offender, a staff member and a contract worker.

Collier said TDCJ has an aggressive screening program in place checking offenders and intense disinfecting procedures.

“We began more than two weeks ago, two to three weeks back, disinfecting at a higher degree than before, but now are accelerating that effort,” Collier said. “I think the message is, ‘Do not slow down one bit on disinfecting.'”

The affect the virus is having in the prison system goes beyond prison walls, he said, noting that parole operations are also impacted.

“We’re trying to limit who comes into the office,” Collier said. “Not only by staff, but also the offenders on supervision.”

Collier said among the questions asked recently concerned possible early release of offenders as a result of COVID-19.

He said those decisions are made only by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

“They’re maintaining business as usual,” Collier said. “We are, as well, by trying to make sure that our programs and services that we’re providing don’t slow any releases down. But certainly there’s no plan to accelerate releases that I’m aware of.”

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT:


About the Authors: