Bail Reform: Challenges and Answers

Bail reform issues plague the criminal justice system (KPRC-Pixabay)

HOUSTON – Is bail reform responsible for rising crime in Harris County? Harris County DA Kim Ogg has suggested as much.

Rania Mankarious, CEO of Crime Stoppers of Houston, says the current system is clearly not working and sounded the alarm years ago when she said “the direction we’re going is going to create chaos in our city and crime is going to go up. You cannot create a system that routinely releases the most violent defendants back into the community. It just doesn’t work.”

Mankarious is one of the guests on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall as bail reform is the major topic of discussion.

Judges vs Prosecutors?

The KPRC2 Investigates team has done in-depth reporting on the problems of bail reform. Robert Arnold joins the conversation this week about the disconnect between judges and the District Attorney’s Office in the process of setting bail for violent offenders.

“There’s not a lot put on the record about what goes into the decision as to how bail was done,” Arnold said. “You have to try and track down the prosecution to find out what’s really going on because there really wasn’t anything in the file and judges are precluded from answering questions about specific cases.”

Keeping track of defendants

Once bail is granted, what is the most effective way to keep track of defendants? Ankle monitors have proven to be woefully ineffective.

KPRC 2 Investigator Mario Diaz says the model being used in San Antonio is getting attention from Harris County and other counties across the state of Texas.

“They have everybody on the same page in San Antonio,” Diaz said. “They realized, hey, many years ago, we might have to build a jail for five thousand more people and they were like. ‘Let’s not do that! Let’s make the system better.’”

Find out what that “better” system is on this week’s Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall.

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