Snitching could lead to up to $5,000 for Harris County Jail inmates as investigators encourage detainees to phone in tips to Crime Stoppers.According to the Chronicle, jailhouse snitches will get paid through the regular Crime Stoppers program "if the information results in the filing of felony charges or lead to an arrest, they will receive a reward up to $5,000." One critical difference between them and others who call Crime Stoppers, though: While an arrest may be made or criminal charges filed based on testimony from a jailhouse informant, in 2009 the Texas Legislature, in a bill authored by state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, required corroboration for jailhouse snitches' testimony in order to secure a conviction. Another difference: Jail calls are never anonymous.
The Houston Chronicle reports Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia planned to announce the program Tuesday.
Garcia says inmates have crucial information that could help deputies solve or prevent crimes. Garcia says the money can be used by the inmate to post bond or pay an attorney.
The jail will soon have monitors that flash Crime Stoppers contact information, in English and Spanish.
Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos backs the program.
I'm hopeful Texas legislators may file more legislation this spring related to reining in informant abuses, perhaps modeled after recent efforts to improve disclosure in Washington state or Rachel's Law in Florida.