According to the Austin Statesman, the Hays County Sheriff (south of Austin) will begin using the citation authority created in 2007 as a stopgap while Sheriff Tommy Ratliff pushes a new jail: "Ratliff said his office's new program to cite and release offenders for some Class B misdemeanors such as criminal mischief is aimed at" bringing the number of prisoners down.
Dallas now uses this authority, and this year the City of Austin finally began implementing the new policy. Perhaps a few dozen other agencies around the state, big and small, are using it, too.
Law enforcement organizations in Harris, Bexar and Smith counties, by contrast, along with many others, also face serious jail overcrowding dilemmas, but local officials have refused to allow expanded use of citations to relieve the burden. As budgets get tighter, though, I suspect more agencies will follow Hays County's lead.
See prior, related Grits posts:
- Austin PD will finally implement citations for petty misdemeanors
- Smart policies can boost police coverage even in tight economy
- Long booking times a strong argument for police using new citation authority
- APD finally implementing B misdemeanor citation policy
- Police union backs using citation authority at Austin PD
- With safety costs rising, why won't Austin PD use new citation authority?
- Nuts and bolts of citations for low-level misdemeanors explained by Travis Sheriff's Office
- On the source of volitional jail overcrowding in Bexar County: Why solve a problem when you can create one?
- Tyler officials should listen to voters, use new tools to reduce jail overcrowding
- Sheriffs more likely than PDs to welcome new arrest discretion
- Jefferson County works out kinks with new cite and summons authority
- How one Texas county will take advantage of new law to reduce jail overcrowding
- HB 2391 could save Bexar taxpayers $10,000 per day
- Cite and summons for low-level offenses could free up jail space
- Texas Lege approved new tools to reduce jail overcrowding, if police can change their thinking