UHLC co-hosts community forum on jail overcrowding   

March 3, 2015 – Criminal justice advocates will conduct a community forum Thursday to discuss measures that can be taken to reduce overcrowding in the Harris County Jail.

The program is titled “Houston, We Have a Problem:  A Community Forum Introducing a Blueprint for Criminal Justice Reform To Reduce Overcrowding at the Harris County Jail.” It is sponsored by the Criminal Justice Institute of the University of Houston Law Center, the Earl Carl Institute of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition.

The jail has been operating under temporary variances from the state because of crowded conditions and further costly variances may be needed.  In fiscal year 2013, following a rise in the county’s jail population, taxpayers reportedly spent nearly a half-million dollars per day operating the jail.

The forum is designed to examine various aspects of the criminal justice system in Harris County and to make recommendations for improvements to alleviate jail overcrowding, including: changing bail policies and bond amounts; reducing over-criminalization for minor drug offenses and mental illness; expanding pre-booking diversion opportunities that reduce justice system involvement; and increasing reentry programs for inmates.

The conference will be held from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, McCoy Auditorium, Texas Southern University, 3100 Cleburne Street. The event is free to the public. 

For further information, contact Sarah R. Guidry, executive director of the Earl Carl Institute for Legal and Social Policy, Inc., at srguidry@tmslaw.tsu.edu or 713.313.1321.

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