Sheriff Alters Policy: No Longer Lost in Space?

Sheriff shifts policy to ensure prisoners aren’t lost in jail

Dallas County: Teacher was held for 3 days last month on misdemeanor

07:47 AM CDT on Wednesday, September 6, 2006

By KEVIN KRAUSE / The Dallas Morning News

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department has instituted a new policy to make sure prisoners being held on Class C misdemeanors do not get lost in a jail holding tank like a Lancaster High School teacher did last month.
Theresa Dobbs, 51, orchestra director for the high school, found herself stuck in the holding tank for three days after her paperwork was lost almost two weeks ago.

The Sheriff’s Department books all prisoners into the jail. If the prisoners are there on a traffic warrant, deputies leave their paperwork in a tray for the city to pick up and place the names on the municipal court docket.

Court hearings are held twice daily, in the morning and afternoon.

But Ms. Dobbs’ paperwork wasn’t picked up when it was ready. The Sheriff’s Department and the city blamed each other for the mistake.

Sheriff’s spokesman Raul Reyna said the supervisor on each shift will now hand deliver any paperwork left in the tray to the city to make sure no one gets lost in the system.

As a backup measure, the Sheriff’s Department wants Class C misdemeanor prisoners to wear colored armbands like other inmates, Deputy Reyna said. Each color corresponds to a day of the week. If a prisoner is in the holding tank for longer than normal, a guard will be able to notice it by looking at the armbands, he said.

Deputy Reyna said the department still has to clear that with the city before it is enacted.

E-mail kkrause@dallasnews.com

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