The Bexar County jail had an in custody death on Friday, December 14th. 61 year old Janice Dotson-Stephens had been arrested for criminal trespass in July. Her bond was set at $300. When a person uses a bond company they are usually charged about 10% of the bond amount. $30 is all it would have taken to get Dotson-Stephens out of jail.
However, getting bonded out requires interviews. Dotson-Stephens refused to be interviewed multiple times and refused to go to court. She was scheduled for a psychological evaluation but no information is given as to whether she did get one. Dotson-Stephens had never been arrested before. This was her first brush with the law. No reason has been given as to why the Sheriff’s Office continued to hold her.
Dotson-Stephens’ family said she had mental issues and thought she was at the State Hospital receiving treatment. They didn’t know she was in the Bexar County jail.
Dotson-Stephen’s appears to have died of natural causes but that she was left in jail on bond highlights all the things we have been saying are wrong with the bond system our courts use. This woman never should have been in jail. If our system did not treat people as guilty before being proven innocent, Janice Dotson-Stephens could have died with dignity.