By early May 2020, the majority of all new COVID-19 cases in Bexar County were attributed to the jail. That month, TCJE and SA Stands began developing weekly reports detailing the number of people in the Bexar County jail – incarcerated individuals and staff – who had tested positive for COVID over the course of that week, as well as the numbers of people being quarantined or treated offsite during the course of that week. We used these in our #DecarcerateBexar social media push.
Justin Martinez and multiple organizations, representatives, and individuals also signed on to a letter to Sheriff Javier Salazar in May 2020, spearheaded by SA Stands, demanding a moratorium on arrests and new bookings, safe environments for people who remain incarcerated, jail releases, reductions in ICE holds, reentry plans for people leaving the jail, and public data on COVID-19 related issues and arrest/booking data.
In August 2020, we and our partners kept up the pressure on local leaders. TCJE supported a virtual press conference by SA Stands to discuss jail conditions, featuring stories shared by attorneys and doctors about the treatment of incarcerated individuals.