Bexar County district court judge helping to tackle jail overcrowding problem

Close to 4,600 of 5,000 beds occupied at Bexar County jail

A Bexar County district court judge is trying to help alleviate the overcrowding problem at the jail by spending time on a docket of cases that could resolved quicker than others.

SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County district court judge is trying to help alleviate the overcrowding problem at the jail by spending time on a docket of cases that could be resolved quicker than others.

Judge Velia Meza of the 226th District Court had 40 inmates shuffle in and out of her courtroom Monday.

The hope was to get these cases scheduled for trial or resolved through plea deals.

“If you bring them over and they have a chance to have a face-to-face talk with their attorney, both sides are going to get pushed by me,” Meza said.

Currently, of the 5,000 beds in the county jail, close to 4,600 are occupied.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar believes new ways of dealing with the problem must be figured out.

“We can’t just go back to the way things were pre-COVID,” Salazar said. “Anything that the courts or the (district attorney), any of the judge’s pretrial services, anything that anybody can do to help us get the system moving, the better it’s going to be for everybody.”

Salazar said he doesn’t expect the jail population numbers to go down, with the peak population usually coming in August and September.

That’s why Meza’s approach is one Salazar applauds as efforts continue to find a solution to the overcrowding jail problem.

“Any judges that care to do the same or something similar, they have my undying support,” Salazar said.

Related:

Bexar County Sheriff looking to address increase of inmates at the jail

BCSO on pace to blow past jail overtime budget


About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast South Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.