Travis County Jail


From the Austin Monitor: On the eve of Fiscal New Year’s Eve, Travis County commissioners voted to adopt a brand-new budget that will keep the lights on through 2016. Along the way, they managed to inject some last-minute drama into the proceedings by restoring in-person visitations at county jail facilities.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The Austin City Council is taking steps to limit its role in Federal Secure Communities, a program that relies on partnerships among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to deport undocumented immigrants. The program has been criticized for detaining and deporting individuals charged with misdemeanors, rather than serious crimes.

On Thursday night, the council voted unanimously to instruct city staff to make amendments to a proposed interlocal agreement with Travis County. The new language would require the Travis County Sheriff's Office to only honor detainer requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when there are judge-issued arrest warrants or probably cause of crime.

The amendments, proposed by Council Member Mike Martinez, were intended to “either minimize the impact of Secure Communities on Austin families, or increase transparency around the program” and its impact.

This is an article from our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily).

A two-way video conferencing system that has all but replaced in-person visits by friends and family members with those incarcerated at the Travis County Jail is coming under fire  as being too expensive, too impersonal and possibly even dangerous to an inmate’s health. Critics are also concerned about the possibility that attorney-client conversations are being illegally recorded and provided to prosecutors.

Travis County officials say a 53-year-old woman died at the Travis County Correctional Complex located just east of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Laureen Butler from New Orleans was found unresponsive at around 3 a.m. Friday morning. Jail medical staff were called to the scene. The staff also called Austin/Travis County EMS and began administering lifesaving measures. EMS arrived on the scene a short time later but Butler was pronounced dead at 4:24 a.m.

Update (June 23, 2014): More reviews are in – and since this post was written, Travis County Jail's Yelp rating has risen a whole star. It now has a 2.5 rating.

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Original story: With the news that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg may be leaving the hoosegow, corrections officers may be looking over their shoulders, hoping that the county’s highest ranking law officer doesn’t write them a bad review.