HOUSTON, Texas — The largest jail in Texas “accidentally released” a convicted family-violence inmate who was scheduled for transport to prison. Fortunately, police recaptured the man ten hours later after family members turned him in.
“We need the public’s help locating a convicted criminal Marcelo Perez Campos, 61, who was erroneously released from the Harris County Jail,” Harris County Sheriff’s Office officials tweeted on March 1. “Campos was sentenced on Feb. 20, 2023, to 25 years for aggravated assault of a family member [and] was due to be sent to state prison.”
We need the public’s help locating a convicted criminal Marcelo Perez Campos, 61, who was erroneously released from the Harris County Jail.
Campos is 5’7″ and 200 lbs., bald w/brown eyes. Call 713-755-6055 or @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS(8477). Release: https://t.co/3lxfsxXUdF. pic.twitter.com/z7vYIOSV2D
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) March 1, 2023
Sheriff’s Office officials told the Houston Chronicle that Campos was to supposed to go to state prison to serve his sentence for up to 25 years following his conviction for aggravated assault of a family member. Officials called his release a “clerical error,” the Chronicle reported.
Harris County Crime Stoppers tweeted an offer for a $5,000 reward for information leading to Campos’ arrest.
Within ten hours of the sheriff’s office request for help, police arrested Campos, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted.
Campos has been taken into custody and returned to the Harris County Jail. #HouNews https://t.co/kVl5O0Ikik
— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 2, 2023
The Chronicle reported that family members tipped off police to Campos’ location.
Sheriff’s Office officials tweeted that “an internal investigation will be conducted to determine if any possible policy or procedural violations occurred.
Houston Realtor Melissa Rowell responded to the statement by tweeting, “No, sounds like you need a third party to investigate and do a review of your internal controls. The public demands it and deserves it.
No, sounds like you need a 3rd party to investigate and do a review of your internal controls. The public demands it and deserves it.
— Melissa Rowell (@HeyitsMelissaBR) March 3, 2023
The day after Campos’ escape and recapture, HCSO officials tweeted an announcement that they are hiring new detention officers.
We are hiring! If you are going to the @rodeohouston and would like to know more information on how to join our team stop by and visit our recruiters!
You can also visit https://t.co/qb7nvdwcAN or call 713-877-5250 and apply today! #hounews #houjobs pic.twitter.com/Kh0VMprRFd
— HCSOTexas (@HCSOTexas) March 2, 2023
Under the leadership of Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and lack of funding from the Harris County Commissioner’s Court, the county jail — the largest in Texas — is now referred to as a “House of Death,” Fox 26 Houston reported. “Critics have coined the new and sinister name for the building located at 1200 Baker Street and the outcry against what’s happening there is growing,” the local Fox affiliate stated.
In September 2021, the Harris County Deputies Organization President David Cuevas filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Gonzalez and the Harris County Commissioners Court following years of failed jail inspections, Fox 26 reported.
“Year after year of failed jail inspections,” Cuevas told Fox 26’s Greg Groogan. “2004, 2005, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2017. What else are we going to do? They do not care! They have failed at every level. They just don’t give a damn.”
Just last month, the HCSO jail failed yet another inspection, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The jail, home to more than 9,800 inmates, failed for many reasons including:
The jail was specifically cited for not performing timely visual checks on prisoners and for the long time it takes for people to be booked into the jail. The inspection also knocked the jail’s health care performance in triaging patients in nonemergency situations and said that in two instances, inmates didn’t received their prescribed medications on time.
Officials placed the blame, in part, on not having enough staff.
Cuevas described the impact of the lack of staffing in the jail in the Fox 26 interview with Greg Groogan.
“Let me tell you how bad it is, we have detention officers that are soiling themselves and urinating on themselves because there are not enough personnel to give them a break,” said Cuevas. “That is absolutely wrong and it falls at the feet of Commissioners Court.”
The “accidental release” of the violent inmate appears to be the latest in a long list of failures in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office jail.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.