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Bexar County Jail Staffing, Overtime Issues Reach Critical Mass

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Bexar County jail
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio
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The Bexar County Jail has long suffered from chronic understaffing and overworked employees. Mandatory overtime and other working conditions contribute to high turnover and critical staffing shortages, as the county faces budgetary constraints exacerbated by the pandemic and ramped up enforcement of compliance with state jail standards.

A recent survey of 350 Bexar County Sheriff's deputies detailed how experiencing compassion fatigue and "burnout" — defined as a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress — can lead to higher risk-taking behaviors in officers, which can compromise security for the agency, its employees, and the overall community.

What conditions contribute to employee dissatisfaction at the Bexar County Jail? How can they be remedied? What are the biggest challenges?

Could diverting inmates with mental health conditions and drug dependency issues provide relief for those afflicted individuals and jail staff?

Has any progress been made in addressing conditions that lead to high turnover? How many jail staff vacancies exist currently?

How does county leadership plan to support its jail employees and deputies in distress moving forward? How could taxpayers be affected?

How are these issues affecting county negotiations with the deputies union on a new collective bargaining agreement?

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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, January 5.