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Keith Gorsuch

Editor's note: This article on Beto Unit Warden Keith Gorsuch's retirement was inadvertently deleted Saturday from the Herald-Press Facebook page, as were about 25 comments. Therefore, we are re-posting the article online exactly as it ran Friday, and noting that at least a dozen readers called the use of the words “stepping down” in the story's lead misleading, vindictive, and another example of PHP's shameful sensationalism. To clarify, Editor Jeffery Gerritt notes the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “stepping down” as “resigning or retiring.” More important, the article's second paragraph specifically stated that Gorsuch was retiring. Notwithstanding, the editor apologizes for any confusion the wording caused our readers.

Keith Gorsuch, warden of the George Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony, has stepped down, after leading the maximum-security prison since June 1 of 2019.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has not named Gorsuch's replacement, Communications Officer Robert Hurst told the Herald-Press Friday. Gorsuch is retiring, he said.

As Beto's warden, Gorsuch earned $91,800 a year. His last day at the unit was Wednesday, a Beto employee told the Herald-Press.

This spring, Beto came under fire from local officials for reportedly doing a poor job of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. In April and May, Beto became one of the state prison system's hot spots for the coronavirus.

With nearly 3,500 inmates, Beto has had more than 300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including two COVID-related prisoner deaths. More than 2,000 Beto inmates are on medical restriction.

Poor ventilation and close quarters have aggravated the problem of COVID-19 in Texas prisons. Families of Beto inmates also say the prison has done little to protect the spread of the virus among prisoners, including the use of inadequate personal protection gear.

More than half of Anderson County's more than 100 cases of COVID-19 in the community were contracted in ways directly related to the county's five prisons, local officials have said.

Before Beto, Gorsuch served as senior warden at the Havins Unit from August 2016 to August 2017, and at the Sanchez Unit from August 2017 to May 2019.

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