Bexar County pilot program for defendants facing minor charges touted a success
BCSO, judges launch pilot project similar to work-release programThe program allows participants an opportunity to avoid jail time by working weekends doing landscaping and cleanup work around the jail and other county properties. “The participants have a sense that they’re giving back to the community,” Judge Velia Meza said Wednesday. Meza, along with Judge Melissa Vara and the sheriff, launched the program last month. “We’ve already saved $16,000 in housing costs and another $4,000 in hourly wages we would have paid to landscaping companies,” he said. “I would also like to expand this out to help out some of the nonprofits or do more graffiti cleanups,” he said.
Bexar County sheriff, judges announce Bexar Gives Back sentencing program
SAN ANTONIO Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, 226th District Court Judge Velia Meza and County Court 15 Judge Melissa Vara announced a low-level offender jail diversion partnership program, called Bexar Gives Back.The program, announced Saturday, is designed to divert low-level offenders from jail by giving an option to sentence the offender to the program and allow offenders to serve the community in return as a payment for the offenses they committed. According to the sheriffs office, the program will save taxpayer expenses for sentenced low-level offenders, which would have normally been spent to house, feed and provide other services while incarcerated at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center. Additionally, this program will provide an alternative to being incarcerated in the Adult Detention Center, help the community, and decrease the jail population, the sheriffs office said in a statement. Related: BCSO holds virtual job fair for potential deputies, dispatchers
BCSO, judges launch pilot project similar to work-release program
SAN ANTONIO A half-dozen defendants will show up outside of the Bexar County Jail on Saturday morning to clean up the area by pulling weeds and picking up trash. Meza and County Court 15 Judge Melissa Vara screened and selected the participants, all who had cases pending in their courts. The program is similar to a work-release program that was discontinued when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar will join the judges in monitoring the program. He said that a cleanup outside the jail will be a part of Saturdays initial session.