The Bexar County Sheriff’s Department made sure Santa Claus didn’t forget the children of the inmates at the county jail. On Sunday afternoon at the El Progresso Hall on the city’s West Side, 13-year-old Sunshine sat on her new bike.
"I got a raffle ticket when I got here and they called the numbers and I won," Sunshine said.
The old Toudouze Building on Comal St., which was used previously for a jail annex, will be built out in a campus-like setting to provide education and counseling services to repeat misdemeanor offenders.
Bexar County is moving ahead to the next step in their effort to reduce the number of non-violent repeat offenders in county jails, which costs the county millions per year.
The county’s re-entry program, which was proposed in a think-tank that met in San Antonio last year, now is getting a building and a curriculum.
The new center will be constructed in an old jail annex building down the street from the existing jail. Mike Lozito is designing the program according to the different needs identified by the committees in the re-entry council.
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau finally introduced new jail administrator Raul Banasco today, who said one of his first goals is to get jail staffing up to 100 percent and to make the command staff more visible.
"I am not an individual that micromanages, but it's important that the staff sees a presence and they feel comfortable enough with you to share some concerns," Banasco said.
From the senseless deaths of children in Newtown, Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary, to the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, high-profile tragedies involving guns never cease to shock people across the nation.
The debate has sparked dialogue on whether the problem is guns, or the people behind them.
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said she believes mental illness is an issue that needs to be thoroughly examined.
As part of National Police Week, San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff's Department are honoring their slain officers and deputies.
SAPD held a ceremony earlier this week and Sheriff Susan Pamerleau will hold a special candlelight vigil Thursday evening for members of her department - the first time Bexar County has held such a private event.
On Friday deputies will gather for the annual public ceremony, where Sgt. Yvonne Vann, wife of Sgt. Kenneth Vann, who was shot and killed while on duty in May 2011, will speak.
Following the arrest of several deputies in the past week, Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau told reporters she has implemented programs to address disciplinary problems among deputies and detention guards.
In three separate incidents, two deputies were arrested at their homes in connection with domestic violence issues.
Paul Berry, a sheriff's department spokesman, said that in another incident two jail guards got into a fight Sunday evening.
Domingo Martinez's "The Boy Kings of Texas" transports people into his Brownsville childhood, warts and all, in his memoir.
It's been called "an emotional roller coaster rendered in exquisite detail," by Publisher's Weekly and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Martinez was in town for the San Antonio Texas Book Festival last weekend and stops by the studio to talk about his recent literary success and why living in Texas is not something he ever sees himself doing again.
Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said the overtime problem at the county jail is just about a thing of the past.
Pamerleau asked for an additional $500,000 in late January to cover overtime hours that had backed up due to understaffing before she took office. She asked for another $500,000 last month to continue paying overtime as she worked on filling vacant slots through training and hiring new detention officers.
"We need to get to the point to where we have the same number of faces as we have spaces," Pamerleau said.
Bexar County's only child advocacy center, ChildSafe, has announced a realignment to serve more children, but there are some challenges in the move.
For 23 years, ChildSafe has served child victims of sexual abuse, but the now it's expanding to provide services for children of physical abuse and neglect. The organization is one of the last advocacy centers in Texas to expand to this role.
President Kim Abernethy said she thinks that is because the center started with a major focus on sexual abuse.