Harris County announces plan to overhaul jail system

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Officials with the Harris County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council discussed plans Thursday afternoon that would improve how the county makes use of its jail and criminal justice resources. 

The MacArthur Foundation gave the county $150,000 last May to study the jail system.

"We use the jail as a housing project for too many people who don't need to be there. It is important to look for offenses throughout the system. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of puzzle pieces,"  Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said.

The county spent six months gathering data on arrest and release decisions, racial and ethnic disparity and re-entry initiatives. It hopes to win a second round of funding to put those plans into action over the next two years.

"We have limited resources and we need to spend those resources on the people who are killing us, and robbing us and raping us," Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said. 

The MacArthur Foundation will announce the winners in March.