The kitchen at the Hays County Jail passed its routine inspection Sept. 18. The Hays County Health Department reported no demerits or problems within the kitchen.
In 2009 the facility failed two inspections from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards and was faced with the possibility of closure. In both inspections, the jail was issued demerits for rust on walls and doors, faulty electrical and plumbing mechanisms, and mold and mildew in food freezers.
By 2011, the county had spent about $3.2 million to replace the roof and repair the kitchen, plumbing and air conditioning.
This is the fourth inspection the jail kitchen has passed since Sheriff Gary Cutler took office in 2010. Cutler attributed the passing grade to "the dedication of the jail staff assigned to the kitchen and their dedication to excellence.“
Director of Food Services Jason Cowan received the inspection.
“The successful operations of the kitchen is a direct reflection of the dedication and hard work of not only the Sheriff’s Office kitchen staff, but the hard work and dedication of the trusties who volunteer to work in the kitchen while repaying their [debt] to society,” Cowan said.
Sheriff's Office Lt. Julie Villalpando said the renovations that have brought the jail up to code began under former Sheriff Tommy Ratliff and have been completed under Cutler. Villalpando also praised Cowan.
"It is Mr. Cowan's supervision and his knowledge and his experience in the field that keeps us constantly on track and making sure that everything is being passed and all the rules are being followed," Villalpando said.
The jail kitchen employs Cowan and three civilian staff members. The Sheriff's Office also keeps approximately 20 trusties assigned to the kitchen at all times. These trusties are responsible for most of the day-to-day operations in the kitchen.
The Hays County Jail employs 111 certified male and female corrections officers and has a 362-inmate capacity. The jail books an average of 8,000 inmates per year, and about 2,600 of those are transferred to other courts. The jail also serves about 1,086 hot meals per day.