One of the largest cities of Texas, Houston, closed in 2021 with 473 murders. This was a sharp rise from the prior year.
The criminal suspects who got released on the multiple felony bonds, Texas, from the most populous county, they killed 156 since 2018 as per victim advocates. These advocates criticized the efforts of bail reforms which saw that some people got charged with violent crime and were still released back on the streets for re-offending violently.
What do the stats say?
Harris County, Houston, showed 113 defendants who got charged with capital murder got bond, Rania Mankarious, the CEO of the Crime Stoppers (Houston), said Fox News. The group was tracking the stats amidst the changing bond policies.
The public safety institution has been tracking cases for the suspects on the multiple felony bonds (bond forfeiture and the bonds for ones released on Personal Recognizance). These bonds don’t need cash for getting out of jail but have restrictions like drug testing or GPS monitoring.
According to Mankarious, the bail practices changed after the lawsuit settling stopped asking the accused of the misdemeanor crimes to pay a large sum or cash for getting out of jail.
Like one released suspect Andrew Williams who was charged with violent crimes, he murdered Martha Medina in 2021, during a robbery in Houston outside McDonald’s. he got using the bond for this capital murder charge and the aggravated assault.
“If one capital murder case isn’t enough to keep somebody behind bars, then what is?” Medina’s son, Adrian Medina, said Fox News. He is looking out for justice, but will he get it?
In the city, there were 473 homicides, which shows a 20% increase from the previous year.
What changes were introduced last year?
Joan Huffman, the State Sen., a republican, and the former prosecutor of Harris county, he introduced the legislation last year, which required defendants previously convicted (violent crimes) or accused of posting the cash bonds for getting out before the trial from the jail.
Fox News reached the office of the Harris County DA Kim Ogg’s office and several groups in the bail reform favor.
Governor Greg Abbott signed the legislation which required the violent crimes accused to put up the cash for getting PR bond, to get rid of the release cashless.
According to some advocates, this bail reform prevents discrimination against the poor defendants, and they are left to languish in jail for low crimes as they cannot ensure post bond.
In the effort to curb Harris County violent crimes, a Judge named Linda Hidalgo proposed an initiative. It is of $50 million for improving public safety using improvement in infrastructure.
“According to her, this will help revitalize neighborhoods with the blighted buildings being removed, adding the streetlights and making other investments in areas which are hit by the crime the hardest,” as per Fox News.