Inmates face challenges as Bexar County jail grapples with new online system

SAN ANTONIO – JoAnn Harrison, the mother of a 24-year-old inmate inside of the Bexar County Detention Center is pleading for her son with multiple disabilities to be released.

“I just want him out,” Harrison said. “I want him home. I want him to be okay.”

Her son was arrested after a mental health episode involving assault. Harrison then bonded her son out and brought him home. She tells KSAT he was arrested less than 24 hours later for violating a protection order that he, his mom, and the person listed as being protected in the order all said they did not know about.

Harrison said her son now has to manage his ADHD, developmental delays, and epilepsy behind bars.

“He had one bond for $3,500… and I paid them,” Harrison said.

Harrison even showed KSAT the bond receipts.

“I took them the papers, and they said it would be 24 hours,” Harrison said. “Then I called back because he wasn’t out yet, and they said they couldn’t find him in the system.”

This problem follows a slew of issues Bexar County has seen with its new online system, which KSAT has been following for more than a week. Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Johnny Garcia told KSAT that before the new online system, it took 8 to 12 hours to be booked, post bond, and then released.

“As a result of the odyssey transition and data migration with Bexar County, deputies are having to manually enter information, but out of an abundance of caution, are verifying information to ensure critical mistakes are not made,” Garcia said.

“These additional measures have increased the normal booking process to 16-24 hours until the transition has fully been completed. We anticipate the transition to be completed within the coming days. Additionally, although the timeframe has increased, we are still within compliance with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

“It’s ugly,” Harrison said. “It’s just like you don’t understand what’s going on.”

Another inmate told his daughter, Linda Lopez, that he’s dealing with a different aspect of the system failure.

Lopez said her dad has been in jail for four days with no assigned bed.

“He is sleeping on the floor,” Lopez said. “He’s sitting up on a chair, and this has been going on since Tuesday.”

She said he didn’t get a change of clothes until she contacted the Texas Commission of Jail Standards. Deputy Garcia tells KSAT that this inmate has since been offered clothing.

Garcia also said, “TCJS did receive a complaint that we looked into; however, the complaint was within TCJS standards.” Garcia could not provide KSAT with a copy of the complaint because their standards and compliance section is “off on weekends.”

Lopez said she made her complaint to TCJS verbally.

“To me, it boils down to the ethics of it all,” Lopez said. It’s unethical. My father deserves better.”

Families said ethics are only one piece of the problem. As the county works out the issues with the online system, families told KSAT they want accountability and action from Bexar County. They’ve said they just want their loved ones released or processed in a timely manner.

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