The state has transferred patients who tested positive to COVID-19 to state facilities in Brazoria County. The transfer was made so those patients would have access to the best possible health care, said Jeremy Desel, director of communications for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
“In this case, these particular transfers were done for the sole reason of moving these offenders closest or closer to the best possible medical care within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system,” Desel said.
In a press release, Brazoria County Judge Matt Sebesta said he was disappointed he was not made aware of the transfer.
“I was recently shocked and disappointed to learn that without notice to elected state officials or county officials, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice recently transferred a large percentage of its COVID-19 positive cases to Brazoria County prison units,” Sebesta said. “This is an appalling and unconscionable lack of transparency by the TDJC and a total disregard for public safety during this Public Health Emergency.”
In the release, Sebesta stated he has sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott to request assistance and resources to protect Brazoria County’s citizens.
While Desel could not comment on Sebesta’s statement, he said in normal conditions, thousands of offenders are transferred from unit to unit without notifications to county judges.
“At its core, this is no different than any other movement,” Desel said.
Desel said UTMB was notified of the transfer. UTMB administration has told the Brazoria County officials the effect on the UTMB Angleton Danbury Hospital Campus will be minimal, according to the press release sent out by the county.