Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas has had its fair share of controversy. Between an officer getting caught abusing women on the job and cops making inappropriate social media posts, there’s a lot going on. One issue, however, is really causing major problems and putting the jail in the spotlight: deaths.
Multiple people have died in custody at the Bexar County Jail waiting because they could not afford bail. The latest victim? Stephen Cole, a man living on the streets. He didn’t have the $40 to give a bail bondsman and passed away inside the jail because of a trespassing charge.
The same is true for Janice Dotson-Stephens, who was being held there on the same charge struggling with mental illness. Her family has had to fight for answers.
It’s been reported that she was “ignored to death” before she died, unable to pay the $30 needed to be released. Her death caused national outrage.
It’s troubling, to say the least, that people are being held in a cell because they don’t have a tiny amount of money. This is particularly bad for people struggling with mental illness and for poor people. Travesties like this are why many want to get rid of bail altogether.
Not having enough money should not mean you have to sit in a cell. Being rich shouldn’t mean the system automatically treats you better in every way.
This especially discriminates against Black people, who are more likely to bear the brunt of these issues. No one should have died in Bexar County.