Thursday, September 27, 2018

No fix in sight for nixed crime lab fees, bail reform redux, and other stories

Here are a few odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention (for those of you not focused on the spectacle in D.C. surrounding Brett Kavanaugh):

No fix in sight for nixed crime lab fees
After Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded new fees authorized by the Legislature last year after they cut the agency's crime lab budget, nobody has ever come up with the extra money, leaving Texas DPS crime labs poised to run out of operating funds before the end of the fiscal year. Here's a brief overview from the Legislative Budget Board, published in April. It indicates caseloads have grown 21 percent over the last two biennium, despite the recent budget cut. Most larger agencies operate their own crime labs or pay for lab functions via fee for service. The agencies responsible for using the most DPS crime lab services are mid-sized agencies: Corpus Christi PD, Lubbock PD, the Montgomery County Sheriff, Plano PD, and the Midland PD.

What they think
Right on Crime has compiled polling on criminal-justice topics from various sources. Check it out.

Understaffed prison unit needs to close
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice's Connally Unit in Kenedy County is so understaffed they're having to bus in guards from 200 miles away. In a rational system where prison closures were matched to the agency's biggest staffing and management problems, the Connally Unit would probably be the next unit closed.

Bail reform redux
Dallas has lost Round One of its bail litigation. Here's the preliminary injunction from the federal judge overseeing the case.

When prosecutors hold the Thin Blue Line
Twice, the San Antonio PD asked District Attorney Nico Lahood to prosecute one of their own for on-the-job mendacity. Both times, his office declined, reported the SA Express-News.

Reform DA candidate in Tarrant
Check out a profile of the Democratic candidate for Tarrant County DA, who is running on a #cjreform agenda. By contrast, the GOP incumbent has been running around telling people Texas has no problem with mass incarceration.

The ever expanding sex-offender registry
The sex-offender registry in Texas includes nearly 100,000 people. The Austin Statesman has a feature about how it's become so bloated, and the fight over rules changes that apply lifetime registry requirements to offenders who were told when they pled guilty that wouldn't be the case.

1 comment:

jdgalt said...

An economics blog has weighed in on the bad effects of bail reform. I'm not sure they are right, but I think they deserve a response.