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Texas Jail Administrator Fired for Tampering with Government Documents

by Matt Clarke

The Hill County Sheriff’s Office in Texas fired the head of the county jail on June 19, 2019. Jail Captain Sherry “Diann” Hammer, 68, had been on administrative leave since March while Texas Ranger Jake Burson investigated allegations that she had ordered a jailer to shred the only copies of request forms – similar to grievances – submitted by a prisoner.

After she was told to shred the documents, the unidentified jailer realized the request forms should have been placed in the prisoner’s file.

The jailer took some sheets of paper out of the copier and shredded them instead. Then she turned the request forms over to Burson, who was investigating the jail following an unrelated prisoner-on-prisoner stabbing incident.

Burson interviewed the jailer on March 17, 2019. She said Captain Hammer told her “these are just a crazy man talking,” and the Texas Commission on Jail Standards would not like the prisoner’s comments in the request forms.

The next day, Burson interviewed Hammer. She told him she was only shredding copies of documents because she was getting ready to retire again. Hammer denied shredding or asking anyone to shred anything, and denied shredding any original documents.

In reviewing jail surveillance video, Burson saw the jailer leave Hammer’s office with the documents, shred paper she took from the copier, then place the documents in her purse. He verified there were no other copies of the documents in the jail, then completed his report.

“In summary, Captain Hammer removed original government documents (inmate request forms) from her office and instead of placing the forms in the inmate’s file, she directed a subordinate to destroy the documents by shredding them,” Burson wrote. “Additionally, there were no copies of the documents retained anywhere else.”

On April 11, 2019, an arrest warrant was issued for Hammer charging her with tampering with government records, a Class A misdemeanor.

“There’s [sic] a lot of things that are going to come out of this case that will reveal that my client didn’t do anything wrong, a lot of politics and other things that are going on behind the scenes,” said Hammer’s attorney, Randall Moore. He also claimed the jailer who complained to Burson about the shredded documents is related to Hammer. 

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Sources: kwtx.com, correctionsreport.com, hillsbororeporter.com, newsmaven.io