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Jail Video Visitation Project On Hold

Eileen Pace
TPR News

A Video Visitation Project at the Bexar County Jail that was on the verge opening this year has hit a roadblock. It has to do with cost.

On Tuesday Bexar County Commissioners were being updated on the new off site facility. It will be filled with video stations for family members to visit with inmates at the jail.  The system would create less wait time for visitors and make it safer for guards who won’t need to move inmates from their pods in the jail.

Patrick Grabiec with the Budget and Finance Department gave commissioners the figures.

“The total annual estimated cost to operate the video visitation center on an annual basis $760,071,” said Grabiec.

That raised a lot of eyebrows on the court. The county began the process of creating the new video visitation plan in 2012.

“I think the question becomes - ‘Do we want to spend another 750,000, a million dollars on a system that the state doesn’t even let anybody have anymore? And that changed from the time we first started,” said County Judge Nelson Wolff.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert asked Sheriff Susan Pamerleau what the impact would be if the court doesn’t approve moving ahead with video visitation.

“We have no authority to hire individuals. So until this is worked out we don’t have the resources to open it,” said Pamerleau.

Judge Wolff has asked them to go back and look at ways to cut costs.