Backlogs persist at Bexar County jail after installation of new computer system, sheriff’s office says

System led to delays in booking, releasing inmates

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County jail is still experiencing a negative ripple effect from the installation of a new computer system.

According to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the new system led to a backlog which resulted in delays when it comes to booking and releasing inmates from the jail.

KSAT 12 News began hearing complaints last week from newly released inmates and family members who were trying to locate loved ones who had been incarcerated.

As of Tuesday morning, people walking out of jail were still sharing those same types of stories.

“I got a PR bond but they released me today,” said one man, who was arrested Sunday afternoon.

The man, who wanted to conceal his identity, said he expected to be released within hours of posting bond in response to a misdemeanor arrest. However, he ended up spending an extra full day behind bars.

“Of course, it’s affecting my work,” he said. “I’m not getting paid for not being at work.”

Temarvion Anthony, also picked up on a misdemeanor charge, walked out of jail Tuesday afternoon, nearly two days after his arrest.

“I bonded out and they had me sitting in there extra days,” Anthony said. “They said (it was due to ) a new system, and everything kept shutting down.”

Monica Ramos, a spokesperson for Bexar County, told KSAT 12 News Tuesday morning that the computer system now is, for the most part, working as planned.

However, she said individual issues were being handled as they arose.

For an explanation of what is still causing delays at the jail, she deferred to the sheriff’s office.

A spokesman for BCSO said the delays in processing inmates in and out of jail were due to issues with the computer system.

In an email, Deputy Johnny Garcia said that jail staff members now are trying to work through that backlog the computer system caused. He said at one point, they had to go to a manual system of keeping records on inmates.

According to people who have been dealing with the jail, paperwork isn’t the only thing piling up. They say as the process of moving people in and out of jail has slowed, conditions are becoming overcrowded.

“There’s not enough places for people to sit. There’s not enough benches for people, sitting on the floor,” said one man, who was jailed on a charge of soliciting prostitution, his first arrest.

Others echoed his sentiments.

“There’s a lot of people in there that shouldn’t be in there. There are people sleeping on the floor, people sleeping on the restroom side,” said another man, who claimed to have quite a bit of experience with the jail system.

KSAT 12 News has put in a request for a tour of the jail to view the conditions, reportedly caused by the computer system. A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the request is being reviewed.

BCSO Sheriff Javier Salazar had the following to say about the new computer system:

“I’m extremely dissatisfied with how this system has performed thus far. There have been no erroneous releases of inmates, regardless of what the online system may have indicated. This is a credit to BCSO personnel literally hand-counting inmates, working on paper backups, and double-checking everything to compensate for the shortcomings of this system and process. As an example, the system indicated to us this morning that we had over 5,100 inmates in house when we knew for a fact we did not. I know other major agencies are watching to see how this system performs for us as they consider a purchase, but I’d be extremely hard-pressed to say anything positive about the system or process. I realize it has caused hardship for those incarcerated and their families, but that is a direct result of us having to be meticulous in our processes to ensure public safety,” said Salazar.

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About the Authors

Katrina Webber joined KSAT 12 in December 2009. She reports for Good Morning San Antonio. Katrina was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas. It's not unusual to find her singing karaoke or leading a song with her church choir when she's not on-air.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.

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