Even in Texas, apparently, the fervor over bail reform has reached a fever pitch that is leading to criminals going free after being arrested. The argument put forth by so-called bail reformers is that poor people should not be penalized simply for not having the money to pay for bail. That’s a good point, but things go awry quickly from there.
The pretrial risk assessment tool that has taken the place of money bail has proven so faulty, so often, that one must wonder if its developers aren’t playing a joke on the country.
Get Out of Jail Free
Here’s the latest example in Harris County, Texas: on June 17, a man was released from Huntsville Prison. Four days later, he was arrested again for aggravated robbery but was released on a personal recognizance bond (PR bond). Turns out that on June 21, after that release, the same man kidnapped a UPS driver. Multiple crimes sandwiched around arrests, and with a 13-year history of committing crimes, and yet the pretrial risk tool indicates that it’s “safe” to let him out of jail on a PR bond. How can this possibly be? Is there no room for judicial oversight here beyond the tool, or has that failed as well?
Do Something About Misguided Bail Reform
The Texas Alliance for Safe Communities has been formed to fight against such things ever happening. The organization is a nonprofit with the stated mission: “To provide and advocate for principled criminal justice solutions that ensure accountability in the criminal justice system and keep Texas communities the safest place to live, work, and raise a family.”