Our Bexar County jail populations are overcrowded. Over 40% of the County budget goes justice, particularly to housing inmates, and we historically had 4,650 to 4,700 inmates in our jails. Every 400 inmates costs the County 8M annually.
Spending this money would be worth it if inmates were being rehabilitated. More than 80% of the individuals who go to Bexar County Jails have been there before, sometimes as many as 20 times! Every month, 5,000 individuals leave local jails, needing housing, medical treatment, employment, and counseling.
Tommy knows that our local communities are severely burdened by this influx of needy individuals and are only able to provide minimal services, adding to the reason why ex-offenders continue to fall back to a life of crime. He is working to reduce the recidivism or repeat criminality rate because he knows that is necessary to make our communities safer and ease the tax burden to our citizens. That is why he pushed for the development of the Bexar County Re-Entry Council, joining Tarrant, Travis and Dallas County as the only counties in the state with re-entry councils.
The Re-Entry Council is made up of over 60 stakeholders representing judicial, legislative, law enforcement, and social service stakeholders. The Council’s mission is to reduce recidivism by providing cost effective services, supports and systems-of-care that facilitate offenders’ transition from incarceration to contributing, law-abiding, self-sufficient citizens of Bexar County.
The Re-Entry Council serves as the community’s “think tank” concerning re-entry strategies and projects, it leverages existing community resources, it recommends changes in legislation and policies that foster successful re-entry, and it identifies and facilitates strategic collaborations among government, private and non-profit providers.