The Nueces County Sheriff’s Office has enhanced its programs to support inmates preparing to re-enter society. Nearly a year prior, Sheriff Hooper introduced a discharge planner to aid inmates with essential services before they rejoin the community.
Natalia Gutierrez, the discharge planner at Nueces County Jail, said her role involves connecting inmates with housing, healthcare, and mental health services. She noted that obtaining identification is crucial as it allows inmates to secure housing, medical services, employment, and education.
Gutierrez explained that inmates inform her of their needs before release, and she facilitates connections with the appropriate services. An ID card, she emphasized, is more than just an identification—it’s a tool that helps prevent recidivism.
Sergeant Harold Mallory of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) praised the initiative as a significant step towards rehabilitation. He commended Sheriff Hooper for the partnership, emphasizing the importance of helping inmates start anew after serving their sentences. With the help of the discharge planner and DPS, over 40 inmates have received personal identification in the last quarter.
Former inmate Sarah Graber expressed that the assistance she received from Natalia was life-changing. Released over three months ago, Graber has since secured a job in healthcare, reconnected with her family, and is thriving in a sober living environment.
Graber shared her renewed connection with faith and her positive outlook on life, attributing her success to the support she received.
The Sheriff’s Office is committed to continuing this support, helping inmates to unlock new opportunities and make positive strides on their life’s path.