Texas has long been the land where criminal justice is thought of as swift and unyielding — but that may be changing. Is Texas about to take a more progressive approach toward criminal justice?
Here’s what to expect in 2020:
Possible bail reforms
The cash bail system is widely criticized because it often forces poor defendants to sit in jail for low-level crimes while they wait on a trial. As a result, many just give up and plead guilty to get back to their lives.
While major bail reforms are still working their way through the system, there has been progress on local levels. Activists and lawmakers are hoping that they can enact changes on a broader scale later in the year.
Mental health awareness among law enforcement
The authorities are finally catching on to the idea that there’s a lot more to be gained by getting people with mental health issues the treatment they need instead of just tossing them in jail every time there’s an issue. Several Texas cities are allocating funds for additional mental health caseworkers and treatment programs instead of prison.
Leniency for certain offenders
America has a mass incarceration problem — and a lot of that has been driven by draconian measures toward drug crimes. Prosecutors in many progressive areas are starting to take a new view, however, toward low-level crimes, like marijuana possession. The goal is to keep essentially harmless offenders out of prison while putting more of the state’s resources toward combating serious crimes.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Texas, don’t trust your future to chance. Learn how an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case.