On December 13th, 2012, the new Blanco County Jail underwent a surprise inspection by Texas Commission on Jail Standards Inspector Fred St. Amant. This was the first inspection the jail facility has had and according to Lt. Bob Shelton of the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office “the jail passed 100% in all categories.” All county jail facilities must conform to minimum standards of construction, maintenance and operation. Minimum standards are also set for the custody, care and treatment of inmates as well as rehabilitation programs, education and recreation for inmates.
The letter received by the Blanco County Sheriff’s Office acknowledged the excellent work of the office and presented them with a Certificate of Compliance for the Blanco County Jail. In the letter, Inspector St. Amant stated that the “Certificate of Compliance demonstrates (Sheriff Morgan’s) outstanding leadership and the diligent work of the staff in complying with minimum jail standards.” He added that because of the commitment of the Sheriff’s office to excellence, they are an “example of dedication and professionalism in maintaining a safe, secure and sanitary facility.” The Inspector also congratulated the Blanco County Commissioners’ Court for providing the essential budgetary support for jail operations. Without such financial support, the facility may not have been able to meet state compliance obligations.
Lt. Shelton stressed that since the jail is a new facility, the jail no longer qualified for variances to the commission’s jail standards as did the old jail. Since the old jail, which is located across from the historical county courthouse, is 116 years old, it did not have to comply with some of the more modern standards regarding firefighting equipment, etc. He also believes that this is the first time a new facility has passed an inspection 100% because the jail standards are very strict. He credits Jail Administrator Sergeant Jennifer Shumake and her staff for the stellar report the jail received. Without their efforts, the jail may not have passed all the categories graded by the Commission.