GALVESTON, Texas, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Nearly 1,000 prisoners on Galveston Island were not evacuated as Hurricane Ike bore down on the Texas Gulf Coast because of security concerns, officials say.
Sheriff's department spokesman Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo said the inmates and jail staff at the Galveston County Jail remained in place after a proposed evacuation was deemed a security risk, the Houston Chronicle said Friday.
Tuttoilmondo said despite the decision to weather the hurricane, jail staff was dedicated to protecting their wards. "The prisoners and their safety and well-being are paramount and it will be handled," the sheriff's spokesman said.
Tuttoilmondo refused to offer specifics regarding how staff members would protect prisoners, but he did tell the newspaper that the jail was designed to withstand hurricanes.
City Manager Steve LeBlanc said if a storm surge of at least 20 feet were to hit during the hurricane, nearly all of Galveston Island would be left underwater.