Saturday, July 06, 2013

McLennan Co. looks to reduce pretrial detention to save jail costs

There's been a major shift in Texas over the past half decade or so regarding county jail overcrowding and how county commissioners should respond. For many years, when jails filled up there was really only one option ever considered, no matter what the jurisdiction: Expand the jail; build more cells. Today, it's more common for counties to seek to lower the jail population by other means, particularly reducing pretrial detention for low-level offenses. That same debate is playing out right now in McLennan County, reported the Waco Tribune Herald this week ("County pretrial release program could cut costs, expedite release of nonviolent offenders," July 5). Here's how their story opened:
McLennan County commissioners are examining a plan to accelerate the process of releasing nonviolent offenders awaiting trial in the county jail, thus cutting the costs of housing them.

The commissioners discussed last week the option of forming a pretrial release program and agreed to continue researching similar programs throughout the state.
A pretrial release program would combine the county’s PR bond coordinator, indigent defense coordinator and a full-time magistrate into one office with the goal of processing and releasing nonviolent offenders from the McLennan County Jail on State Highway 6 as they await the resolution of their cases.
The county now employs only one part-time magistrate. And the indigent defense and PR bond coordinators work separately.

“To have the three of those working separately from one another can cause great inefficiencies and cause unnecessary costs,” Precinct 4 County Commissioner Ben Perry said.

Merging the three entities would cut costs immediately and allow the county to dissolve the position of bail bond coordinator, officials said.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if DA Mighty Mouse has finally seen the light.

Anonymous said...

The DA, McLennan County, has run on the easiest ticket ever invented by would be prosecutors....
"I'll lock up every swinging one of them up if u just elect me".
No he will not see the light in McLennan County because he is the best thing that hit the political micro minds since Vic Feazell. He is going to financially break McLennan County and will do it with a smile on his little man face.

Anonymous said...

And with his daddy defending his baby boy against all those meany, poopy-headed critics on FB and!