According to a very helpful Mr. Shannon Herklotz, Assistant Director with the Commission on Jail Standards
, the 1000 inmates left behind in the jail on Galveston Island
are alive. They have food and water and a generator so they have some form of ventilation in their cells. He also told me that the Harris county Jail also refused to evacuate their inmates and now they are also in the middle of a disaster area. But they were not on a island that was expected to be completely under water, so they may not have been under a mandatory evacuation order.
According to Mr. Herklotz, no matter what the threat, there are no laws requiring that jail inmates be evacuated to a safe location. The people in charge of the jail can force inmates to remain in any facility in any situation, however unsafe. There is nobody that can step in to help the inmates, "not even the Governor."
I'm glad the inmates on Galveston Island are OK so far. I think it's ridiculous that one man's lack of preplanning can put so many lives at risk and cause such a draw on resources during a major disaster and there is no law, and no person, who can stop him.
And I wonder why Texas tax dollars are being wasted on a Commission on Jail Standards
if they can't do anything to protect jail inmates, even when there is such a clear and present danger that a mandatory evacuation order has been issued for the area where the jail is located.