Harris Co. Sheriff's deputy says some inmates roam jail freely instead of being escorted, handcuffed

As we continue to learn more about how an inmate was able to sexually assault a sergeant at the Harris County jail, one officer tells us it's not uncommon for them to roam around the jails unescorted.  

BACKGROUND: HCSO investigating report of female sergeant being sexually assaulted by county jail inmate

This officer, who agreed to speak with FOX 26 under the condition of anonymity, tells us been assigned to the jail for several years and that morale is at an all-time low. 

"I’m not surprised," the deputy said. "When I go to a cell block and there’s one officer and there’s 120 something inmates with them."

MORE: How did inmate brutally attack, sexually assault sergeant inside Harris County Jail?

He tells us inmates are classified by risk by different colored wristbands. White is low risk and solid purple means the inmate should always be escorted handcuffed and shackled.

"But I see all the time solid purple bands are not handcuffed, shacked, or barely chained - there’s nothing," the deputy said. "They come up to the clinic all the time they are walking around freely, and they’re solid purple."

RELATED: Top leaders who oversee Harris Co. Jail take 4-day cruise together, bans other staff from taking time off

Jeremiah Williams, 28, whose charged in Monday’s brutal attack on a jail sergeant wore a purple wristband.

"He knew the whole floor was empty, and he saw the opportunity at that point," the deputy said. "He didn’t care about her, he didn’t care about anything but attacking her." 

"That’s why he left early," he continued. "One way to get out of the tanks is saying I’m going to go to Bible study, but really they are roaming around the hallways."

The deputy also tells us the number of inmates being taken to the hospital is skyrocketing. He says years ago 15 inmates going to the hospital in one shift would be highly unusual. Now he says that number can go as high as 42 inmates per shift.

"A deputy will go out with an inmate for a headache for stomach pain or because the inmate is constipated," said the deputy. "That will take a deputy away from the jail to go work at the hospital."

When we asked the Harris Co. Sheriff's Office to respond to what the deputy told us, we were told that’s part of what’s being investigated by Internal Affairs and the Office of Inspector General.