Caravan of Hays County activists demands the release of jail inmates amid pandemic

Activists circled the Hays County Historic Courthouse June 30 to demand the release of pretrial detainees. (Courtesy Mano Amiga)
Activists circled the Hays County Historic Courthouse June 30 to demand the release of pretrial detainees. (Courtesy Mano Amiga)

Activists circled the Hays County Historic Courthouse June 30 to demand the release of pretrial detainees. (Courtesy Mano Amiga)

A group of activists in Hays County caravanned downtown San Marcos outside the Hays County Historic Courthouse to demand the release of pretrial detainees, citing the coronavirus pandemic, as the Hays County Commissioners Court met for their regular meeting June 30.

The call for action, organized by Karen Munoz, comes a week after Capt. Julie Villalpando from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office revealed that 36 inmates and nine correctional officers had tested positive for the coronavirus and reported that more than 70 test results were pending as of June 22.

In addition to demanding the release of pretrial detainees, protesters called on the Hays County commissioners to provide more transparency and better safety and sanitary measures at the county jail, according to a June 29 press release sent by organizers. To read the full list of demands from protesters, click here.

At a June 23 meeting, Villalpando told court members that inmates are provided with masks and cleaning supplies. In addition, staff is conducting temperature checks, and common areas are being sanitized twice a week, while the entire living area is sanitized once a week. Villalpando added, however, that having an overcrowded jail during a pandemic presents its difficulties.

“It’s hard to really do the 6-foot social distancing with the inmates when we don’t have the space,” Villalpando told commissioners at a June 23 meeting.


Demonstrators gathered at Eddie Durham Park prior to arriving at the courthouse, where they geared their cars with paint markers and signage. After circling the courthouse, the caravan headed to the Hays County Jail.


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