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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Waco detention center fails state inspection for 3rd time in less than a year

The Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco failed another state inspection.

WACO, Texas — The Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco failed another state inspection. The results mark the detention center's third failed state inspection in less than a year. 

While the detention center is owned by McLennan County, LaSalle Corrections runs it privately. 

It houses 335 inmates the McLennan County Jail doesn’t have room for.

During the latest inspection, it was noted that the detention center staff are not adequately monitoring inmates who are aggressive or mentally ill.

The report from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards also showed staff failed to apply identification procedures for inmates and did not screen procedures for mental health and suicide concerns.

During a presentation at the McLennan County Commissioners meeting March 5, the McLennan County Sheriff Department laid out a plan for commissioners they thought could over the Jack Harwell Detention Center if the McLennan County Commissioners end their contract with the company. 

McLennan County Jail administrator Captain Ricky Armstrong told said he would love to see the facility used as a program-based facility working with the mentally ill or as a pre-release reintegration program.

Hope Mustakim with the Waco Immigrant’s Alliance urged the commissioners to end their relationship with LaSalle Corrections.

“At this point it’s made a mockery of the law,” Mustakim said. “They are not taking responsibility for what’s going on at the facility. It’s frustrating. What more has to happen before the county finally takes over that facility?”

She said she felt the sheriff's department is on the right track.

“We just know that Captain Armstrong and our sheriff's department has some really great plans for that space,” Mustakim said. “At this point it should not be a question of if, but a question of when. When is the hiring going to start? When is the training going to start? We are ready to see movement.”

Channel 6 reached out to LaSalle Corrections for comment on the failed inspections, but did not receive response.

Officials with the McLennan County Sheriff's Department also said if they take over the jail it could save the county about $1 million.

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