Brownsville is located in the southern portion of Texas near the U.S./Mexico border and within Cameron County. All reporting is conducted at the county level. The County Chief Deputy stated that the jails are quarantined (which means they are limiting transportation into and out of the facility and postponing hearings) and court hearings are occurring via Zoom to limit transmission of COVID (Sheridan, 2020). Cameron County is not holding jury trials and hasn’t since February 2020. Instead the court is attempting to facilitate plea agreements to facilitate release of non-violent inmates. This is particularly a concern for these non-violent inmates, many of which remain in jail due to inability to pay bond. The County has halted visitation but is allowing phone calls. Of note, the City of Brownsville has continued curfews for residents, with limited exceptions, due to continued high rates of infection of COVID-19 (Brownsville, 2020). The area is within the region known as the Rio Grande Valley, hospitals are overwhelmed by the community spread and this will certainly affect the jail system (Gamio, Mervosh, & Collins, 2020). However, the declaration does not specifically address the City or County jail facilities.
Brownsville. (2020, September 15). Thirteenth Amended Declaration of Local Disaster for Public Health Emergency. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from City of Brownsville: https://www.cob.us/DocumentCenter/View/10441/Thirteenth-Amended-Declaration-of-Local-Disaster-for-Public-Health-Emergency
Gamio, L., Mervosh, S., & Collins, K. (2020, July 23). Where the Virus is Sending People to Hospitals. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/23/us/coronavirus-hospitalizations-us.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200723&instance_id=20544&nl=the-morning®i_id=75843376&segment_id=34125&te=1&user_id=2e44da24c4ba17ef20cc569c9eaa4524
Sheridan, E. (2020, August 20). New wave of COVID at county jails. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from The Brownsville Herald: https://www.brownsvilleherald.com/2020/08/20/new-wave-covid-county-jails/
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