Female inmates reach three-year high at Bexar County Detention Center

Call it an unwanted record but the number of women arrested for crimes in Bexar County is now at a three-year high.

SAN ANTONIO - Gladys Willis spent most of her life following the wrong crowd down a path of rebellion. Under the spell of drugs, she quit school, got kicked out her parents' home and started a life of crime.

"I started selling trucks and I was selling them in Mexico,"' Willis said.

The progression of iniquity consumed her life even more. 

She sauced up her drug addiction with alcohol. Prostitution, drug dealer, and theft were a part of her new normal. The mother of five recalled the rush she got from crime and those who accepted her because she did.

"I was getting very excited about committing crimes," she said. " It was like a high I was feeling every time I would do something like that."

Her world continued to unravel after she went to jail and lost her five children.

"You go in there and they away everything not just your freedom but your spirit," Willis said.

Willis' story isn't an island. The Bexar County Detention Center is experiencing an increase in female inmates.

"Everything moves in trends and at this point, we're seeing a higher trend in females," Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

In July, jail records show the Bexar County Detention Center had its biggest jump in female offenders in three years. The female population peaked at 692 and then dropped to 685 by the end of the month.

Salazar's staff had to move women into a traditionally male unit in the jail's annex.

"It was about half way full.We moved those male inmates to other parts of the jail, filled in some other spots to open up that unit," Salazar said.

The female unit is across the hall from a male unit. To meet jail standards, he said they used cardboard and tape to cover up the windows.

Female offenders are being booked in on an array of crimes: Contempt of court, theft, prostitution, drugs charges, weapon charges, robbery, and murder.

"Everything that goes up must come down at some point," Salazar said. "All that we can do is deal with it in the best way we possibly can."'

The sheriff has contracted space at private jails in two counties. He said he's trying desperately not to use that option.

In the meantime, work release inmate Willis is trying to transition back into society through Bexar County's Reentry Program. She speaks the truth about her life out loud.

Sadly, she's had no contact with her children. Part of that is court ordered. Her 30-year-old twin daughters are reportedly on drugs, a pattern their mother knows well and a prison she is still trying to escape.

"I don't have it yet but I'm not where I used to be," Willis said.

 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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