Records show that there were handfuls of suicide cases that transpired in the cells of The Bexar County Jail for many years, in fact, it is at the top rank compared to the rest of jails in Texas. One suicide situation a few years back, served as the fuel to flame up the real issues inside The Bexar County Jail, with the help of the then elected Sheriff Pamerleau that vowed her advocacy to clear up issues in the County Jail when she was still campaigning.
The death of Thomas Reed Taylor in 2012 gave way to uncover the real crisis inside The Bexar County Jail. Thomas was a long time drug-dependent, battling with his own sickness and was trying to rehabilitate himself jumping on different centers, but the drug has consumed him and unable to unhook himself from the addiction.
In one fateful night during one of his probationary period, Thomas was arrested while under the influence of controlled substances in April 2012 and pressed with DWI, drug possession, and serious misdemeanor charges. Because of this, he was brought to Hays County Jail, which brought about arrest warrants in Guadalupe and Bexar counties, for probation violations. His family said that this happened as advised by one of Thomas’ probation officers so that Thomas gets to the judge faster and hope that he will be granted for a six-month, court-ordered rehabilitation treatment. Unfortunately, it was not granted by the judge who handed the case, and Thomas found himself in the Bexar County Jail soon after.
Previous to this arrest, Thomas had served some time in The Bexar County Jail and admitted that was using a controlled substances, such as heroin. Interestingly, this fact did not surface when was admitted in 2012. The family of Thomas claimed that there was no scrutinous screening that took place upon the admission of Thomas, as if there was any, the county jail should have known his situation and could have transferred him to its medical unit instead.
Still struggling with himself with the fatal brain effects of the drug he took, he was said to be verbally abusive to jail guards that led him to be transferred to one of the isolation rooms, where he was found dead a few hours later. He was found lying with his face down on the floor, with a bleeding nose. The examination exposed that he died due to methadone toxicity and cardiomyopathy.
The family cried foul due to inadequate treatment, screening and monitoring their family member, Thomas and pressed charges against The Bexar County Jail. This case exposed the real situation inside the doomed county jail. It was found out that due to manpower scarcity, jail guards were given tasks more than they can handle just to cover the need of the county jail. One jail guard stated that they were mandated to render overtime or take multiple shifts, that burned most of them out, and led to irresponsible handling of duties.
Thomas Reed Taylor’s case was just one of those horrible suicide situations that occurred in the past years, as one of the side effects of being an understaffed unit. Inmates were not given the appropriate attention, enough to possibly save lives. Sheriff Pamerleau is currently in the crusade of cleaning up the mess inside the county jail and hopefully gets the situation better in time.
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