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Jail Suicide A Challenge For Bexar And Other Detention Facilities

A file photo of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and detention center.
Eileen Pace | Texas Public Radio

The death of Sandra Bland in the Waller County jail has drawn attention to the problem of jail suicides.

Bexar County Deputy Chief Raul Banasco is the Jail Administrator for the Bexar County Adult Detention Center.

According to Banasco, every inmate that is processed into the Bexar County detention division goes through a screening process at booking.

“At that time, if any concerns are noted that the inmate might have some mental health crisis or any kind of suicidal thoughts, we immediately walk them over and communicate that with our medical and mental health screening team in which they will immediately assess the inmate,” said Banasco.

He reports there have been five suicides in the Bexar County Jail since 2013, which he doesn’t see as alarming.

“We go through our annual required Texas Commission on Jail Standards, in which we have successfully passed those in the last three years, as well as our medical department which is through University Health System is accredited,” said Banasco.  That accreditation comes from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care.

According to Banasco, suicide is a challenge that everybody in the business of corrections, detention, and jail operations is facing in America today.