Jailhouse Fight to Go to Austin
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
October 31, 2002

Seems as though this County was meant to be in a fight of some sort or another, from the Alamo to the present.  And although last week's problem pales in comparison to the 1836 battle, your Commissioner's Court objected to a finding by the Texas Jail Standards Commission that our Jail was in "Noncompliance".  Commissioner's Court accordingly sent a strong request for help to our local legislative delegation. 

The finding by the Jail Commission could conceivably cost us millions to house our (and the State's) prisoners out of county if it sticks.  Now, this difference of opinion of the Commissioner's Court with the Jail Commission is a matter relative not to the Texas Jail Standards Commission or any of its members, but to the law that governs this Commission.  We do not find fault with a law that gives our State Commission the power to regulate our jails. 

What we do highly object to however, is that the State Commission can and has found Bexar County to be in Noncompliance that without the State's own contribution to our jail's population, would not be possible. What is really galling is that these over-populating State prisoners stay free in our jail while they are used by a State agency to find us here in Bexar County to be in Noncompliance!

So here's the deal.  The State's Remedial Order is essentially based upon the Bexar County Jail having an overage of some 101 inmates.     

Yet on average, there are 170 or more State parole violators in addition to a significant number of State convicted felons awaiting transit to State prison in our Bexar County Jail.  To add insult to injury, these State inmates not only stay free-of-charge, they are very high maintenance and require high security relative to the rest of the Jail population. It is this inconsistent and unjust condition of the law, to which we vehemently object!

We have therefore asked that the State of Texas be a part of the solution not a part of the problem.  Simply put, the State of Texas should not have it both ways: free rent for state inmates with unfettered access to our jail by the State and penalties for a problem the State helped create at our Bexar County Jail!  So, your Commissioner's Court will actively facilitate a change of this unfair law in the next legislative session.  You can be assured that Commissioner's Court will fight for justice for our local taxpayers on this and many other issues like it!

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