In an effort to address the growing jail population, county officials developed the new position, which is primarily responsible for processing non-violent inmates who can’t afford bond, out of the county jail at a faster rate.I've argued previously that excessive pretrial detention is perhaps the primary driver of Texas' statewide overincarceration crisis in its county jails, see also here, here, here, and here. Maybe the bigger counties want to keep endlessly building new jails, but some of the smaller ones may prefer to get smarter instead of tougher, especially if tougher means raising taxes.
[Newly hired pretrial release officer Weldon] Wilson said the program is designed to reduce jail overcrowding and save the county money on indigent inmates.
“The way the program is set up, I will interview new arrestees within the first 48 hours of their arrest to assess their status and discuss bonding with them,” Wilson said. “It’s important to get these people back to work as fast as we can — instead of just allowing them to sit in jail at taxpayer’s expense.”
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Pretrial diversion = Erath County's overincarceration solution
West of Fort Worth in Erath County (county seat is Stephenville), officials are hiring a new "pretrial release officer" to resolve their local jail overcrowding problems (Stephenville Empire-Tribune, "County addresses jail overcrowding," Nov. 1).