San Antonio – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar took a tour of the NRG Arena in Houston Wednesday where jury selections are taking place to speed the process up.
Salazar said he wants to do something similar in Bexar County. He said they have too many inmates at the county jail right now.
The population is roughly, 4,600 and the jail typically holds anywhere from 3,800 to 4,100 inmates, Salazar said.
“Jails are for temporary stays and they’re for people that are too dangerous to walk amongst us. I don’t believe that jails are meant for long term incarceration,” Salazar said.
Salazar said the average jail stay is about 90 to 150 days.
“Just locking up people in the jail for months on end without due process is not the way to go on a human rights perspective. On a taxpayer perspective $80 per person, per day adds up and you’ve got to get that process moving to make better use of taxpayer dollars,” Salazar said.
Sheriff Salazar believes a similar operation can work in Bexar County and will be gathering information and present it to local officials soon.
Administrative Judge Ron Rangel shared his thoughts about the sheriff’s potential plans in the following statement:
“As a whole, Bexar County trial judges believe that using an alternate facility to safely qualify jurors and to conduct trials during the COVID-19 pandemic is a great idea. About a year ago, I toured a pair of facilities, including the Freeman Coliseum, as potential venues. Unfortunately, the judiciary currently does not have the funding or staff needed to solve the numerous and varied logistical issues that such an effort would present. With additional funding from the Commissioner’s Court, however, it would be possible.”