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Texas Commission on Jail Standards

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  • Next Review Date: 2032-2033 Review Cycle - 93rd Legislative Session
  • Last Review Date: 2020-2021 Review Cycle - 87th Legislative Session

Sunset Review Documents for 2020-2021 Review Cycle, 87th Legislative Session

Legislative Documents

Final Results from Last Sunset Report

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  • Continue the Texas Commission on Jail Standards for 12 years.
  • Ensure only the agency, not its statute, is subject to abolishment.
Standards Development
  • Require the commission to ensure minimum standards account for varying needs and levels of risk among different jails. 
  • Clarify the commission has authority to revise, amend, and change rules as needed without specific legislative action or approval.
  • Direct the commission to review its rules for vague and ineffective standards, and improve their specificity and usefulness. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to adopt a policy to ensure each rule undergoes meaningful review pursuant to state law. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to adjust its operational plan approval process so jails may have plans that implement higher-than-minimum standards (Management action – nonstatutory)
Inspections and Enforcement
  • Require the commission to establish a risk-based approach to inspections.
  • Require the commission to adopt rules and policies for taking escalating actions against jails that remain out of compliance for extended or recurring periods of time.
  • Require the commission to adopt rules and procedures to assess compliance with all standards during a certain percentage of jail re-inspections.
  • Direct the agency to conduct a staffing analysis to better align resource allocation with its core inspection function. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to develop clear, consistent procedures for conducting its monthly risk assessment. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to create a procedures manual detailing its inspection process. (Management action – nonstatutory)
Complaint and Investigation Procedures
  • Update the agency’s statute to enhance existing requirements for tracking, analyzing, and reporting on complaints
  • Require the commission to adopt rules directing jails to post information on the commission’s complaints process.   
  • Require a law enforcement agency, once appointed by the commission, to conduct an investigation of a jail inmate’s death in custody, unless the law enforcement agency can provide evidence of a clear conflict of interest that cannot be mitigated. 
  • Direct the agency to develop clear, detailed procedures for investigating complaints. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to develop a formal process to refer non-jurisdictional complaints to the appropriate agency. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the commission to prioritize complaint investigations by risk level. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to publicize additional information about its complaints process. (Management action – nonstatutory)
Data Analysis and Reporting
  • Require the agency to conduct trend analysis with the data it collects.  
  • Remove statutory requirements for jail officials to report certain juvenile justice information to the agency each year. 
  • Direct the agency to publish certain information on its website for a specified amount of time. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to regularly review its Public Information Act requests and determine what information could be proactively published to optimize staff resources. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to ensure consistent, cohesive data tracking. (Management action – nonstatutory)
  • Direct the agency to expand certain procedures for information gathering and sharing to include more diverse groups of stakeholders. (Management action – nonstatutory)
Governance
  • Authorize the commission to establish advisory committees by rule.
  • Update the standard across-the-board requirement related to board member training.
  • Update the standard across-the-board requirement related to developing and maintaining a complaints system and making information on complaint procedures available to the public. Specify the agency may not inform parties of the status of complaints if doing so would jeopardize an ongoing investigation. 
  • The agency should use its annual reporting requirement to proactively identify statutory changes needed to conduct its work more efficiently and effectively. (Management action – nonstatutory)