Sheriff Salazar ‘extremely dissatisfied’ with new county computer system so far amid backlogs, glitches

Glitches in the system meant people who paid their bail were left in jail but we’re now learning it’s creating backlogs in court.

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas — Problems persist in the Bexar County justice system nearly two weeks after the county transitioned to a new computer software program, an update that leaders last week compared to going “from a flip phone to a smartphone.” 

Glitches in the system meant people who paid their bail were left in jail, but it’s also creating backlogs in court.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said while jail’s backlog has cleared, those who were being released from the jail Thursday said the intake process is still experiencing delays. 

“It’s just dragging out,” one man said. “It took almost a whole 24 hours to get processed in there.”

Even after he posted bail the man said “it took almost 14 hours” to walk out.

Another woman said her 27-year-old son operates at a cognitive level of an 8-year-old. She said he has a feeding tube, but she couldn’t get accurate information on whether he was in the hospital or detention center.

Criminal Defense Attorney Bobby Barrera says some people who should be released are waiting days.

“It’s improved only that they have now been able to determine the exact number of inmates in the jail, according to the sheriff,” Barrera said. “What is still missing is the delay because of the time it takes to input data into the new system.” 

But he claims others who should be behind bars have been let out.

“There is more than one individual that I know about, through speaking with my fellow lawyers at the courthouse, that clients have been released who are not supposed to be released who have been sentenced to the penitentiary,” Barrera said “My client, just to give you an example, I had a meeting set up early in the morning with the family. They were going to come in with the client. I made a call at 8:00 in the morning and they said he is ‘in the process of being released.’ I looked at the magistrate form and it said he was in custody. 

“I was about to tell the family, ‘I am sorry, he is still in jail.’ They said, ‘No, he is right here.’ When they say, ‘We know where everyone is,’ that to me is still untrue.”

In a statement, BCSO denied the “erroneous releases of inmates,” but Sheriff Javier Salazar said he would be hard-pressed to say anything positive about the system process so far.

Barrera said it’s now causing backlogs in court.

“People have to have patience while it’s implemented, because the county employees are getting screamed at for  nothing to do with anything they can control.”

Barrera was encouraged to finally access case information on clients.

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai said Thursday that there is no timeframe on when the backlog would be cleared and the issues completely ironed out, saying only: “All we can say is there is progress every day.”

 Sheriff Javier Salazar released the following statement about the current state of the situation:

“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 at one point 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 it has not been intentional on the part of any BCSO personnel.” 

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