SAN ANTONIO - Space is limited inside the Bexar County jail.
With 98 people booked per day, it's no surprise the jail is getting full.
"We're seeing an uptick. Much of what we're doing, we're victims of our own success," said Sheriff Javier Salazar.
Sheriff Salazar says some of the most dangerous offenders are being taken off the street thanks to the Violent Crimes Task Force.
"People that absolutely need to be in jail, those people are ending up in our jail population. They're also people who pretty much aren't going to be making bond, so they're going to end up staying here," Salazar said.
More violent offenders are being brought in, but the Sheriff says one increase is coming from an unexpected source.
"We're at about 97-98 percent capacity here, and a lot of that is because we're seeing an uptick in female inmates. I don't know what's driving that," said Salazar.
During the month of July there were 692 female inmates, which is 55 more than a year ago.
According to arrest records, most women were brought in for charges like prostitution, theft, DWI and minor drug charges.
Last week during an overtime shift, the sheriff saw the increase with his own eyes.
"We just saw almost wall to wall people within our booking area. The answer was, well … there's nowhere for them to go. We're full upstairs. If you've got males on one side, females on another, they're not allowed to see each other. So that night we had to physically cover the windows with cardboard," Salazar said.
The increase in population certainly isn't something that's gone unnoticed. Right now local leaders and law enforcement are making an action plan to improve the processes right inside the jail.
"Maybe jail isn't the most appropriate place for them. They may have mental health issues. They may be here on a low level misdemeanor where maybe a work program or a GPS monitoring program is more appropriate for that person," Salazar said.
There are lots of ideas, but not much time.
"We still haven't hit that peak for the year. We're still about a month out," said Salazar.
This month Bexar County expanded a contract with Karnes County to house inmates at its jail. The first 30 inmates are housed free, but the additional 70 can cost Bexar taxpayers up to $45 a day.
Those spaces are already almost filled and the agreement will continue until our local jail population goes down.