TOP statement on Dallas County Bail Lawsuit
The following statement was made by Tarsha Jackson, criminal justice director of Texas Organizing Project (TOP), on the lawsuit filed against the Dallas County bail system:
“We applaud the filing of a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of Dallas County’s bail system that requires people to buy their freedom, effectively punishing them before guilt has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, the cornerstone principle of our justice system.
“A majority of people in the Dallas County Jail are there because they can’t afford bail. Not only is this practice in violation of the Eighth Amendment, but it is costly to taxpayers and disproportionately hurts people of color. Even a couple of days spent in jail can be devastating to people already living on the margins of society.
“Also, keeping people in jail on excessive bonds serves to cover up deep and intractable societal problems including drug addiction and mental health.
“TOP and Faith in Texas are partnering to organize the community around bail reform and urge the county to settle this lawsuit because it is indefensible.
“We are confident that courts will ultimately stop Dallas County from keeping people in jail simply because they can’t afford to pay for their freedom. The main question left to be answered is how much taxpayer money will District Attorney Faith Johnson waste to defend this unjust practice?”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.