Friday, July 03, 2015

A tale of two counties' jail populations

Here's an odd development: The Harris County Jail is so full they're having to ship inmates to contract beds in other counties, while the Dallas County Jail population has plummeted.
A DOJ statistician told the Morning News that "Texas’ entire jail population has been in decline since 2010," a trend upon which this blog has remarked for some time.

The causes of Harris County Jail overcrowding and the obvious solutions should by now be so familiar to Grits readers I shall not recite them here. The Morning News suggested five causes for the reduction in jail population in Dallas:
  • Fewer arrests: "So far this year, there have been fewer new arrivals than in 2013 and 2014."
  • More diversion programs, including one in which "Low-risk offenders who can’t post bail can pay a small fee and get out before their trial dates," i.e., personal bonds. 
  • New software lets "Cases ... be presented to grand juries faster, which shortens jail stays"
  • Quicker prep for TDCJ pickup: Everybody cites this but one seldom sees data to support the claim. 
  • Inclement weather: Understandably, upon reflection, crime goes down when it rains.
MORE: From Hair Balls and Kuff.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Over on Kuff's website, a local defense attorney whose family is in the bail bond business of course, tells us that most voters don't want bail reforms and pr bonds. The sheriff was quoted as saying the inclement weather has the opposite effect in harris county since bad weather closes the courts which backs everything up. Ideas?