We be tuff on crime, hang the cost!

Riddle bill may put Harris County at odds with the Supreme Court and cost you money!

Over the years Harris County has had run-ins with DoJ over jail operations.  Settlements of previous federal suits against the county for overcrowding specify a 24-hour deadline for providing prisoners with probable cause hearings.

Debbie Riddle’s HB 1173 (Senate sponsor Huffman) will worsen Harris County jail overcrowding by extending the stay of misdemeanor defendants booked into the county jail from a maximum of 24 to 36 hours until they receive a probable cause hearing.

Keeping prisoners in jail longer will worsen overcrowding and cost the city and county more money.

Valid questions have been raised about the need for extending the time limit for holding prisoners, noting that Harris County prosecutors requested waivers for additional time in only 3 percent of the misdemeanors filed in a nine-month period last year.

Many misdemeanor arrests involve offenses that can be handled by writing a ticket.  We must find better ways to deal with ‘crime’ than the unaffordable ‘lock ‘em all up’ method.

Each of Texas’ six largest cities reported drops in crime rates:

Houston: -5.9%
Dallas: -10.2%
San Antonio: -2.7%
Fort Worth: -1.9%
Austin: -4.7%
El Paso: -5.1%

Riddle’s HB 1173 passed the House in April (141 for) and the Senate (with amendments) on the 23rd.   So much for close examination by either the House or the Senate.

(hat tip to Scott Henson, Chronicle and TLO for info)


Posted on May 24, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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