Ladies and Gentlemen: You Have a Problem
You Cannot Build Your Way Out Of!
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
November 21, 2002
Those words still ring in my ears. Only this time I am dealing with this problem as your Commissioner regarding your Jail, not as your State Representative regarding your prison. Your County is taking dead aim at the kinds of dysfunctional dynamics that a Commissioner's Court can and should rectify that bloat our jail population.
To this end, the ad hoc Jail Population Committee is hard at work rounding-up Bexar's ‘best and brightest' to bring their insights and solutions and perhaps most importantly, their willingness to cooperate and coordinate the solutions. Among other things, it will be our goal to properly use our jail space. Have plenty of room for those who should be in jail, keep those out who really have no common sense reason for being there and achieve safety first, then economy next where ever possible would be seem to be key goals for our committee.
Half of the battle in challenges like jail population is rolling up your sleeves and getting down to the nitty-gritty, grunt work of understanding the inmate classification lingo of the various bureaucracies! Your jail is around 555 inmates over the acceptable population as viewed by our State's Jail Standards Commission. Guess what? The State has a grand total according to my records of 1,385 inmates staying free in our Jail!
Am I asking them to pay up? I would like to but instead of expecting the impossible for our "5 billion-plus shortfall" State to send us money, I would like to just have the State get off our backs. As it stands Bexar County is an unwilling participant in the State's prison management program. Just one month of being ordered by the State Jail Commission to house 300 inmates out of county would likely cost $40.00 per day per prisoner times 30 days is $360,000.00. So you can see how this really adds up in just one month!
Turning to what we do on the homefront, we can and must do plenty to alleviate problems being created by our outdated and fragmented system of incarceration. With citizen's safety first and pocketbooks next, we can and must achieve these two critical goals in our jail's operation. Just like any good school, we must classify what kinds of prisoners we will keep and which ones need to go to another facility like a mental health institution or some such.
In any event, we will get creative, keeping ever present in mind, the goals of our process: safety and economy!
I look forward to keeping you posted as we progress.