See a writeup from a UH-Law School symposium held earlier this year titled "Police, Jails, and Vulnerable People: New Strategies for Confronting Today's Challenges." They've published fairly detailed notes from the event and videos of each speech and panel. From the release:
Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, gave a keynote address expressing strong support for bail reform in the next legislative session. "Bail is not supposed to be punishment," he said. "It is to make sure you show up." He argued that people charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses should not be jailed simply because they are poor, and that jail should be reserved for dangerous people. Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said bail reform would be his "highest priority next session," adding that he would have "zero tolerance" for jail suicide.The Texas A&M Public Policy Institute is conducting a study of pretrial practices in Travis and Tarrant Counties for the Judicial Council, reports UH law prof Sandra Guerra Thompson. The report is due out later this year. Lynda Frost of the Hogg Foundation had an op ed in the McAllen Monitor in which she declared, "The pretrial process does not need to be a trap into which low-income people with mental illness disproportionately fall." Her observations remind me of a Houston Chronicle piece published last month titled "Proposed bail reforms offer support to the ill."
On related themes, here's a summary of litigation in other states on excessive pretrial detention from the Pretrial Justice Institute. Here’s a NY Times article on bail reform as it relates to broader “debtor’s prison” issues. And here's a new piece from the ABA Journal titled, "Court systems rethink the use of financial bail, which some say penalizes the poor."
In D.C., bill proposed in Congress by California Democrat Ted Lieu has been dubbed the “No Money Bail Act of 2016.” See Reason's coverage of the bill.