2017 Legislative Priority: Reform Pretrial Detention So Low-Risk Texans Do Not Languish in Jail


Stay up-to-date on our top priorities during the 85th Legislative Session. This issue falls under our Criminal Justice Reform work.

Texas' jails are full of people who have not been convicted of any crime, but who are awaiting trial, costing the counties an estimated $905 million annually. The current system for making pretrial release decisions leads to individuals being detained primarily based on whether they have enough money to afford bail; low-income individuals remain in jail before trial regardless of risk level, while higher income defendants who can afford bond go free. Texas Appleseed supports legislation to reform pretrial detention decisions, so that release decisions are based on risk level rather than money. By assessing each defendant's risk level and expanding the use of personal bonds, courts can make informed decisions about who should be released and avoid unnecessary pretrial detention of low-risk individuals.

For a full list of our priorities, click here.