Unclear COVID-19 Guidance at Lew Sterrett Justice Facility

The City of Dallas uses the Dallas County Jails and appears to primarily use the Lew Sterrett Justice Facility. Dallas County Jail is currently being sued by a correctional officer, which is likely to be joined by representatives of inmates due to inconsistent and unclear guidance on how to manage COVID-19 positive or suspected cases (NBCDFW, 2020). Known positive and suspected inmates are often quarantined with new inmates and others not suspected of being infected. The jail is nearing capacity and the lack of ability for many to pay a bond means they are unable to leave the jail until they have a hearing (Tatum, 2020).

The City of Dallas has a general population infection rate of 22%, well above the CDC goal of less than 5% (TableauPublic, 2020). The City nor the County have provided infection rates within the jails.

Dallas City Hall is open by appointment only but the Municipal Court is closed to in-person services (Dallas, 2020). Trials, hearings, and jury duty are all postponed.

Dallas. (2020). Coronovirus (COVID-19): City Facility Closures. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from City of Dallas, Texas: https://dallascityhall.com/Pages/coronavirus-facility-closures.aspx
NBCDFW. (2020, August 25). Lawsuit Against Dallas Sheriff Alleges Jail Conditions Spread COVID-19, Put Officers at ‘Extreme Risk’. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from Channel 5 NBC DFW: https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/coronavirus/lawsuit-filed-against-dallas-county-sheriff-alleges-conditions-in-dallas-jail-spread-covid-19-put-officers-at-extreme-risk/2432482/
TableauPublic. (2020, September 24). DFW Regional Dashboard – City of Dallas. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from DTX Innovation: https://public.tableau.com/profile/cityofdallasdtxinnovationteam/vizhome/CityofDallasCOVID-19Dashboard/Dashboard1#!/vizhome/Book3_15862351183220/DFWRegionalCases
Tatum, C. (2020, July 10). Why a Dallas County Jail inmate who was quarantined, not freed, says “they do everything backwards”. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from Dallas News: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/courts/2020/07/10/why-a-dallas-county-jail-inmate-who-was-quarantined-not-freed-says-they-do-everything-backwards/

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