Just the last year alone, Bexar County Detention Ministries has offered classes and counseling and financial help to 2,434 incarcerated individuals and 710 family members.
Those numbers do not surprise those working in detention, especially since one out of every 22 adults in Texas is in prison, jail or on supervised release.
The formerly incarcerated face many obstacles in a tough economy, says client Paris Duhart.
“I’m up against people who have degrees, who have never been in trouble and I’m competing against them when the economy is not very strong,” he said
Duhart served seven years for a burglary conviction and has stayed on the straight and narrow since.
Unfortunately, he lost his longstanding job as an HEB Bakery Manager and now is struggling to get another job.
He came to the Ministries on the advice of a friend and says it’s given him hope.
“They were motivated and they motivated me and I enjoyed their company. It’s almost like a family environment,” he noted.
The agency puts its money where its mouth is.
About a quarter its staff were formerly incarcerated. Some are counselors and some are staff.
All of them believe in the mission of offering services from rent assistance to anger management to money management that will get someone with a felony conviction back into society effectively.
One just client is Dylan Ibarra.
He is 21 and just got out of a court-mandated drug rehab program for a crystal meth addiction that ended up helping him earn a felony arrest for auto theft.
The programs he has participated in have helped him regain his old job back at I-Hop, and more.
“They do my parenting classes, they do job readiness, I did my money management, HIV awareness, child support… they do a lot of classes here,” he said.
He also admits without all the help, he would not be going to AA and would most probably be living at the Haven for Hope without his children.
For more information:
503 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212
Monday - Thursday -- 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday -- 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.