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County to stop ignoring needs of female inmates

Thursday, December 13, 2018 by Ryan Thornton

Travis County is considering using Certificates of Obligation to fund construction of a women’s facility at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle. County Sheriff Sally Hernandez has cited numerous structural and design flaws with the complex that prevent the county from meeting the specific needs of female inmates. Apart from the physical deterioration of several buildings within the complex, a report presented to the court outlined several inherent design flaws including inadequate housing capacity, location of beds for women scattered across four buildings, a lack of on-site OB-GYN health services and insufficient gender-specific programming addressing the needs of female inmates. A new women’s facility is included as part of the Travis County Adult System Master Plan and may offer a wide variety of benefits to the prisoners resulting in improved physical and mental health, better relationships between incarcerated mothers and their families and more effective rehabilitation. Benefits are also expected to extend to the staff through a better work environment. The Commissioners Court discussed plans for the new facility Tuesday afternoon and mentioned a possible vote in April that would allow the county to move forward with construction without need for a public-approved bond.

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