Sheriff hires consulting company to review operations at Bexar County Jail

Audit paid for by asset forfeiture funds, Salazar says

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SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar is bringing in outside help to launch a review of the operations at the jail.

Salazar announced Tuesday that the sheriff’s office will contract with Detain Inc. to look into how the jail is run. The sheriff’s office will pay for the review using asset forfeiture funds.

“We’re looking to get a true, honest-to-goodness picture of what more we can be doing in the jail setting,” Salazar said.

Salazar said that the Bexar County Jail has faced several challenges throughout the pandemic, not unlike other sheriff’s offices in the state. Those obstacles include COVID-19 infections, jail overcrowding, a slow-moving court system and staffing issues.

“We’re hopeful that Detain Inc. can give us a better picture of what’s going on and how are we comparing with other agencies,” Salazar said.

The Bexar County Jail has had several issues in the past few years, including several in-custody deaths, erroneous releases and violence among inmates.

Most recently, Texas Public Radio reported that a man jailed in Bexar County remained there for five months even after his release was ordered by a court.

“That case in question is something we are looking at,” Salazar mentioned. “Our chief did take appropriate measures, I think, to prevent that from happening in the future. He’s having folks do an actual audit every day. They’re having to scrub that list to make sure that nothing like that occurs in the future.”

Salazar said the jail may rely too heavily on an antiquated paper system and plans to look into software that could help jailers keep track of release orders.

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About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.