In the aftermath of an investigation that revealed questionable judgment by jail staff prior to inmates’ deaths, an officer at the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle was arrested Saturday for allegedly falsifying government documents and lying about checking on inmates.
The Austin American-Statesman reported that Carlos Luna, 21, has been charged with tampering with a government record. The Class A misdemeanor carries, on conviction, a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Luna was supposed to be conducting regular checks on inmates in accordance with state law. However, Travis County sheriff’s officials discovered after reviewing surveillance camera footage that Luna was often not doing the checks at the times he recorded in the logbook, the newspaper reported. Investigators said they found that Luna did not perform 34 of the 49 checks during a six-day period in June and that Luna admitted to falsifying the logs for two months.
Kristen Dark, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said that supervisors at the Travis County jail review surveillance footage regularly to make sure staff members are following protocol.
“It’s their obligation to look at the footage — whether it’s dash-cam footage or footage in the jail — to determine if the people they supervise are doing their jobs properly,” she told the American-Statesman.
That newspaper’s recent investigation uncovered probable poor judgment by jail personnel prior to inmate deaths. Travis County correctional officer G.W. Williams received a suspension after the death of inmate Ronald Hall, who died on Williams’ watch after Hall banged his head on the wall of his padded cell almost 30 times. The American-Statesman investigation found that Williams did not complete one of his required checks on the 55-year-old, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Hall was one of five Travis County inmates who died in 2018.