El Paso

El Paso County jail annex still not in compliance with state standards

El Paso County jail annex still not in compliance with state standards

EL PASO, Texas - It's been nearly three months after an inspection report from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) revealed the county jail annex in Far East El Paso was not in compliance. 

TCJS' inspection was prompted after two jailers were arrested and charged with tampering with records after the death of inmate Roberto Gallegos. The inspection report, issued on October 30, 2017, stated the jail reportedly failed in the areas of health services and supervision.

Inmate Death:

The two jailers in charge of checking on Gallegos were Matthew Garrett McBain and Dorian Lautret. 

The officers were accused of falsifying logs detailing when they checked on Gallegos. Gallegos was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes, and surveillance video revealed McBain and Lautret did not abide by that.

The custodial death report stated Gallegos was found "pale" and unresponsive the morning of September 16, 2017 as inmates were being served breakfast at about 4:25 am, the report states.

The jail's clinical staff performed CPR on Gallegos at 4:45 am, the report states, adding El Paso firefighters later performed CPR on Gallegos at 5:12 am. The inmate was declared "deceased" at 5:20 am, the report states.

The sheriff fired McBain and Lautret.

Issues with medication distribution:

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) provides medical services to inmates in the El Paso County Jails.

UTMB medical staff is required to observe the inmates taking medication(s). After reviewing video, it was determined that the medical staff did not observe an inmate taking their medications, according to TCJS inspection report.

The report also revealed there was not a Medical Administration Record (MAR) maintained of all medications dispensed to this particular inmate.

Corrective plan of action:

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office sent the commission a corrective plan of action to fix the issues on November 22, 2017. Executive director of the TCJS Brandon Wood confirmed with ABC-7 on Tuesday the commission is periodically reviewing the facility to make sure the plan is working.

Wood said there's no timeline for when the jail could be recognized as compliant once again. He said it won't happen until TCJS feels the plan provides a concrete solution to the issues identified.

The ABC-7 I-Team obtained the corrective plan of action El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles sent to Wood. The plan states there was mandatory training provided to UTMB staff, and jail annex detention officers also received additional training.

Random weekly audits are also conducted for UTMB staff and detention officers. The sheriff's office also implemented a new software that reminds detention officers when to do face-to-face checks on inmates.

"I feel that we've remedied the issues that were brought to our attention by TCJS," chief deputy for county jails Tom Whitten said. "I don't think they'll come back."

UTMB staff also met with Wiles to address the issues with prescription medicine. 

"We did meet with the sheriff and his leadership staff over this, discussed all of these trainings and implementations with them, and he was satisfied with our actions," said Steve Smock, associate vice president for UTMB's correctional managed care.

Wood said the worst case scenario for a jail being out of compliance is that is could ultimately be closed, but he said that is very rare and does not think this situation will warrant more discipline.

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