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Bexar County Jail's Fatal Flaws Come to Light

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Photo: , License: N/A


Meanwhile, the County rejected the TCJS finding and continued to scold the sheriff.

An Express-News report early this year highlighted some of the questionable management that exacerbated the staffing problem, showing Ortiz inexplicably failed to fill spots vacated by several jailers called in for reserve or National Guard duty; those overruns blew up overtime costs, comprising at least 18 percent of the jail’s overtime spending, the daily reported.

By the time Pamerleau took over, the jail employed only 789 jailers. Weeks after her swearing in, she asked the County for emergency funding, saying that otherwise jailers who had already worked overtime couldn’t get paid.

By March, Pamerleau announced to commissioners that her own staffing analysis concluded that 882 guards are needed to support the jail, below the 922 the TCJS estimated last year, but above the 830 commissioners had budgeted for.

Pamerleau told Commissioners her office had managed to hire new guards and cut overtime pay — from about $100,000 a week after she took office down to $68,000 a week — but that she still needed some 50 new jailers.

The most recent TCJS turnover report, meanwhile, says 20 guards left the jail in March, meaning Bexar County jailers are still quitting at a higher rate than any other large jail in the state.

**

In 2005, about two years after his son’s death, Tommy Taylor moved to Texas, attending community college in Austin. His drug addiction soon worsened, his mother said. Taylor eventually met Rachel Brunet, who was dealing with her own addition to prescription pain meds, and soon after they started dating Brunet got pregnant with their daughter, Adilynn.

Nathan Pacheco, one of Taylor’s best friends who worked alongside him at Integrated Electric Services in New Braunfels, said it was clear Braiden’s death still tugged at Taylor.

“He always talked about his boy … He didn’t talk about his feelings much, but what little came out, you could tell it was still crushing him,” Pacheco said. A couple years ago, Taylor opened up to Pacheco about his addiction during a break at their side jobs at Home Depot.

“He broke down crying, telling me how hard it was to stop,” Pacheco said. “That addiction just sunk its teeth into him.”

Taylor was high in San Marcos when, in the summer of 2010, he got arrested for evading arrest — his mother says that when cops arrested him while trying to break up a fight, Taylor slipped his cuffs. The next year in Guadalupe County, authorities accused Taylor of trying to steal a pack of cigarettes from a Wal-Mart.

Soon after that arrest, Taylor went to a Salvation Army rehab center in Arizona; Terie’s nephew, a heroin addict, cleaned up there years earlier. But probation in Hays County came calling after Taylor had been in rehab for about a month, Terie said. “He couldn’t leave the State of Texas,” she said.

“They told him he had to come back, that they’d find him something here.”

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