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.