TEXAS — So dramatic has the rise in COVID-19 cases across Texas been that staffing levels at several of its juvenile detention centers are affected.
In response, members of the Texas National Guard have been deployed to some of those facilities in order to provide assistance.
According to Brian Sweany, communications director for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, members of the National Guard have arrived at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex as well as the Gainesville State School. They are scheduled to arrive at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center and the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility this week.
According to Sweany, the National Guard won’t provide direct care; rather, they are functioning in support roles such as making supply runs, providing transportation, providing medical support and food services, and conducting bed checks.
Six members have been assigned to each campus and are working 12-hour shifts.
“Our agency’s priority remains the safety of our youth, and as the rise in COVID cases across the state has impacted staffing levels, this additional help will allow TJJD staff to focus on the direct care of youth and help ensure the smooth operation of our campuses,” Sweany told Spectrum News 1.
Many members of the Texas National Guard remain at border locations as part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.