Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Solve the problem

Fix this please. It is a program which helped it sure would be a sad situation if it continues to drag on.

Funding for jail program cut
Stacia Willson: KENS 5 Eyewitness News

Domestic violence sends thousands to jail every year.

Now, partly due to corruption in the legal system, the county has done away with programs that help inmates get the help they need to stop the cycle of violence.
Many inmates struggle to change on their own, which is why these rehabilitation programs are so important. Authorities say in many cases, it's the only thing that will stop a criminal from committing more crimes.

Bexar County inmates who go to counseling in order to help control their tempers are no longer receiving help.

"Today I found out that the program had lost its funding two months ago, and nobody had let us know," said Patricia Castillo, director for a program called Peace Initiative.
Peace Initiative is the only one of its kind in the country, and the inmates paid for it themselves by buying personal items at the jail.

Profits went to rehabilitation programs, but all that stopped when former Sheriff Lopez's friend and campaign manager John Reynolds was sentenced to 10 years for taking kickbacks from the commissionary contractor.

Now in Commissioner's Court, jail director Brian Menges said they're trying to sort out what programs should be renewed, but there's currently no timeline and no contractor.

"We of course want to continue that success. This is really just about a contract and some situations that went bad, and we have to do it correctly," Menges said.

But District Attorney Susan Reed says time is of the essence, and the longer the county drags its feet, the more inmates may continue making the wrong choices.

"We just don't throw people in a prison and say 'sit there.' You need to talk about this; you need to get this fixed," Reed said.

"If they don't know how to deal with domestic violence in their life they become part of the system that's a revolving door," Castillo said.
The county also cut out several other jail programs, including one that teaches inmates trade skills for the workplace.