Why Should We Get a Bail Reform in Texas?

A billboard announces a bail deal in San Marcos in this photo from the August 19, 2019 file. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

The centerpiece of the current preventive release system (bail, as it is better known), is money rather than public safety. The system, which is possibly unconstitutional, takes advantage of the most vulnerable among us, including those with proven mental health problems and intellectual or physical disabilities.

Unfortunately, the current bills that are making their way during the legislature right now will not improve public safety and will only make the judicial system even more a two-tier system: one for those who have money; and one for those who don’t.

While we desperately need bail reform (more than 53% of the county’s prison population in Texas is made up of people awaiting trial), this legislation is not.

HB 12 and SB 6 in their current form will not make Texas safer. They can even undermine our shared public safety goals. Among the main provisions of the bills are the requirements for more people to pay monetary bail and new government restrictions on charitable bailout organizations.