Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 05:02:44 PM PDT
Cross-posted at Facing South
Texas-based blog Grits for Breakfast is covering the shocking news that Galveston Island's sheriff -- despite official warnings that those who stayed in Galveston faced "certain death" -- refused to evacuate at least 1,000 people in the county jail.
People in the jail were terrified. The Galveston Daily News quoted a mother who spoke to her son Friday night in the jail:
"He said, ‘Mom. I’m worried, scared and hungry. All of us are here cramped into this little room on the first floor. The flood waters are rising and we’re not going to evacuate.’"
Nuzzo said her son didn’t see water in the jail, but heard it was rising on the island.
"I called but they’re not answering the phones. It’s ludicrous they left the inmates there."
Tuttoilmondo said the jail is primarily one level. Its phones were ringing all day.
Grits for Breakfast has been scouring the news for updates and hasn't been able to find out what happened to the inmates.
What is known is that the Galveston historic district, where the jail is located, flooded up to 7 feet, according to CNN.
State officials aren't talking. As of this morning, Governor Perry's spokesperson said she "did not know about any Ike-related deaths and did not have any information about inmates at a jail on Galveston that was not evacuated."
UPDATE: A commenter at Grits for Breakfast whose nephew is in the Galveston jail reports that the jail was on a "skeleton crew" because most of the staff had been evacuated. The family was "infuriated" to learn that the lives of 1,000 inmates were put in danger.
UPDATE 2: A woman comments on an Austin-American Statesman story, noting that even if county jail inmates survived the flood, they are still trapped in a town that is unlivable:
I'm still worried about the 1300 inmates and guards in the Galveston Jail. There is no running water on the island. Water for 1300 people takes up a huge amount of room. Do they have enough for everyone?
What are they using for sanitary facilities? Port-a-potties take up a lot of room when there are no trucks to empty them.
How are they ventilating the cells? Temperatures in an unventilated cell in a crowded jail can exceed 100 degrees if the air conditioning is not working. Are these people OK?