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Nueces County Jail implements discharge planner position to help inmates

Nueces County Jail implements Discharge Planner position to help inmates
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 02, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Nueces County Jail has implemented a new program for inmates that offers a plan to get them help before they're discharged from the facility.

Natalia Gutierrez was put in place to be the Discharge Planner. With her position, she provides inmates with the proper resources such as shelter, documentation and even medical services.

The program has only been available for four months, but Gutierrez works with inmates to develop a plan based on their specific needs.

"Not only do I offer them a packet that I have developed full of resources, but I get them connected to shelters," Natalia said, "I get them free 30 day refills on medications that they’re taking, just so they have enough time to get connected with their own doctors.”

She also connects them with local organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission and more. From there, the organizations put the inmates on a list and expect to see them once they're out of jail.

But the assistance doesn't just start here.

Sandra Morris is the jail's mental health service administrator. She said her main focus is addressing mental health needs of the inmates and provides services during their jail time.

Morris said she knows how hard it is for individuals to be locked up, so her team check in on them and see how they can help.

Gutierrez and Morris both say the goal of their positions are to ensure that inmates feel like they matter.

"I have received a lot of people that have cried," Gutierrez said. "It's not normal for them to feel like people."

The Nueces County Sheriff's Office says they're currently working to build a fully-staffed discharge team, so they can help more inmates.

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