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Kleberg inmate's family claims mistreatment; jail denies accusation

Posted at 12:39 AM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 01:39:52-05

Inmates in the Kleberg County Jail are telling family members that those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are being put together with those who have not.

An inmate's mother contacted us, saying her son has been an inmate in the Kleberg County Jail for a year-and-a-half. She asked her identity be withheld.

She said her son told her he had COVID-19 symptoms, and was first tested two days ago. He now is waiting for the results.

The mom further claims her son told her inmates who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus are living right next to those who have tested negative.

The son claims COVID-19 patients go to rec. then they have the non-sick people going to rec.

He said they’re given medicine, but they don't know what they're taking, and that there are people asking to go to the hospital, and the nurse is saying no.

Captain Albert Castillo, who runs the jail, denies the claims. He tells us inmates who've tested positive are separated from those who have not.

"There's two pods -- large pods,” he said. “One for the quarantined people who were exposed at some point. They don't have symptoms, and they tested negative. We have the other pod with about 12 people that are positive. So they're separate.”

Kleberg County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Jaime Garza said the jail passed inspection by the state jail commission in September.

Its current population is about 120 -- and of those, 20 have tested positive, and 24 are quarantined for precaution.

Garza said inmates are first tested upon arrest, and then again upon entry to the jail, and that sometimes inmates will make up stories in hopes of getting release. That's why he says he is questioning these claims made by family members.

"Families don't know,” he said. “They don't know what's inside because they're restricted and there's no entrance in here. So they need to give us the benefit of the doubt.”

Testing is scheduled for jail personnel and inmates tomorrow, and inmates can decline to be tested.