HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - "The top leaders at the jail, including the chief who runs the entire operation, have decided to all go on a team-building exercise on a cruise ship all at the same time," said Robin Foster, attorney for the Harris County Deputies Organization.
While they are cruising the high seas, jail staff is working 12-hour shifts and are told taking time off is out of the question.
"It’s just not a good look, especially when you have detention officers, who by the policy of these people who are on vacation, can’t take a vacation of their own," Foster said.
Some say the four jail leaders all sailing away together on their own personal time and dime is bad timing to say the least.
"This is right after we had a jail inspection," said Foster "A jail inspection they did not do well on."
Not only is the jail short-staffed since January, but there have also been at least 15 in-custody deaths.
In 2019, there were 181 reported inmate-on-inmate assaults and 46 reported inmate-on-staff assaults.
In just the first eight months of 2021, there were 3,567 reported inmate-on-inmate assaults and 918 reported inmate assaults on staff.
"There’s not enough staff, there are not enough resources, and everything is floundering at the jail. It’s barely functioning, and we have the people in charge of making it go forward all gone at the same time," Foster said.
The only comment we’ve gotten so far from the sheriff’s department is the four used their personal time off and paid for the cruise themselves.