With 3 inmates, 20 Harris County Jail officials positive for coronavirus, battle over inmate release continues

HOUSTON – The Texas Police Chiefs Association, Houston Area Police Chiefs Association and Harris County Law Enforcement Executives held a news conference Tuesday slamming the low bonds being set for people being released from Harris County Jail during the coronavirus crisis.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo was joined by District Attorney Kim Ogg and police chiefs and constables from areas across the Houston area to talk about the challenge and issues created by Harris County magistrates and judges who were granting low bonds or not finding probable cause, allowing repeat offenders to be back on the street, Acevedo said.

According to Ogg, officers are in agreement that compassionate release is appropriate for people who pose no threat to the community, but it is not OK when criminals are a risk to the public.

Acevedo said officers in Harris County will make sure to shed light on how judges and magistrates who are issuing the low bonds are “coddling violent criminals.”

“We’re going to let (the public) know when somebody gets $10 bail for a violent crime. Or when somebody who is on probation or on bail goes back to the same judge for the same type of crime and there are no consequences. ” Acevedo said. “it’s ridiculous.”

Acevedo closed by saying there are victims who are being revictimized due to judges setting low bonds on violent offenders, and Harris County officers are not going to let that go unnoticed.

Battling it out in court

As law enforcement officials were voicing their concerns Tuesday afternoon, another hearing was held in federal court regarding the status of thousands of inmates in the Harris County jail. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wants to reduce the jail’s population to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.

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