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State gives Harris County 30 days to fix jail's overcrowding situation

The Harris County Jail's overcrowding issue has led to the state giving them a deadline to get the problems fixed.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County has 30 days to fix what the state is calling a compliance issue due to overcrowding at its jail.

The county has even sent some prisoners to Louisiana in order to try to remedy the problem.

Texas Commission on Jail Standards inspectors pointed out 64 people who spend more than the maximum of 48 hours in the booking area's holding cells. The Harris County Sheriff's Office has 30 days to submit a "corrective plan of action."

The county said its backlog has consistently grown since 2017 when Hurricane Harvey caused structural damage to the courthouse building. During the pandemic, the backlog continued to grow because public health concerns "prevented courts from conducting in-person hearings and trials at their usual pace."

RELATED: Harris County will move hundreds of inmates to private prison in West Texas

The numbers

As of Thursday, there were 10,343 people in the Harris County Jail.

An additional 597 inmates have been sent to a jail in La Salle Parish, Louisiana.

It's the first time the jail population has exceeded 10,000 in over a decade.

Nearly half of the inmates have been charged with violent crimes.

Recently, Harris County signed a contract to move 600 more people to a jail facility in Garza County.

RELATED: Nearly 300 defendants released from Harris Co. Jail after a glitch prevented them from getting probable cause hearings

What's being done

The county said that the introduction of telemedicine, additional health care staff and other steps are being taken to speed up medical screenings during the booking process.

Also, Harris County Commissioners Court has made significant investments to tackle the case backlog.

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