Cite-and-release program that keeps misdemeanor offenders out of jail enters third year

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County criminal reform advocates are celebrating the third year of a program that tickets people instead of putting them in jail.

Advocates are praising the cite-and-release program that helps keep non-violent misdemeanor offenders out of jail for saving the county millions and helping to reduce jail overcrowding.

crn out at the discretion of SAPD and BCSO officers rather than arresting and booking people, according to data released by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.

Fewer than 700 people entered diversion programs, and over 500 completed the diversion program.

Officers can decide if they will cite someone for minor possession, criminal mischief, class B theft, driving without a license and other non-violent crimes.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says the cite-and-release program won’t single-handedly lower overcrowded jail problems but helps relieve the jail population. He said the deputy uses his discretion to make that decision.

“It’s better for the bottom line for taxpayers and better for that individual” that doesn’t have to go to jail, Salazar said.

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