Does Travis County really need more jail officers? Can the Commissioners Court and the Sheriff’s Office prioritize policies to stop incarcerating individuals with mental illness? Are there policies that could release hundreds of individuals on personal bonds instead of forcing them to sit in jail on bonds for petty offenses and potentially lose their jobs, their homes, as their families and communities suffer?
Please join Texas Advocates for Justice and criminal justice reform advocates to call on the Travis County Commissioners Court to address the incarceration crisis head-on as part of the budget process. Join us as we hold a press conference this Friday, Sept. 23rd, at 700 Lavaca prior to our testimony before the Commissioners Court. The press conference will take place at 8:30 a.m. and the testimony will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Over-incarceration, especially of individuals who have not been found guilty of anything, destroys families and neighborhood. The collateral consequences of this crisis are borne by those least able to afford it. The Travis County Jail as of last week had 2,669 individuals, many of whom could be in the community awaiting trial without posing a risk to to anyone. Travis County has a dismal record of not using pre-trial services to identify and release individuals eligible for bond and bail. There is an incarceration crisis locally, and as usual it affects those from communities of color the most. In 2015, 24 percent of individuals booked into jail locally were African American, and yet they only make up 8.9 percent of the general population.
Join us to call on the Travis County Commission to address this crisis head-on and prioritize policies that will reduce the jail population.