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How is the state’s mental health treatment backlog affecting inmates and operations at the Bexar County Jail?

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While waiting for transfer to a state hospital, inmates who had been deemed incompetent often languish in county jails, unable to get the mental health treatment they need to be able to stand trial.

While the backlog’s problematic existence is well known and documented, KXAN’s reporting exposes new details about its truth and consequences, after discovering the state itself does not track critical details about jailed individuals waiting for treatment that aims to address their mental illness and prepare them to go before a judge or jury.

On Dec. 9, “The Source” featured the project’s lead journalist and criminal justice and mental health experts about issues revealed by the investigation, including the fact that some inmates die before receiving care or due process.

How does Bexar County’s top law enforcement officer respond to new reporting about this treatment waitlist and state-level efforts to shrink it?

What kind of pressure is the backlog putting on county jails? What are the consequences for jail inmates and operations?

What is the status of his proposal to turn part of the Bexar County Jail into a mental health facility? Are there other ways to solve the backlog?

What else can be done to improve health outcomes and the legal process for inmates experiencing mental illness?

Guest: Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, December 14.

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