TOP Statement on Harris County Bail Lawsuit Decision

The following statement was made by Tarsha Jackson, criminal justice director of the Texas Organizing Project, on the decision handed down today on the bail lawsuit against Harris County:

“This is exactly the ruling we expected. We’ve long believed Harris County’s practice of holding people charged with misdemeanor crimes on high bonds without taking into account their ability to pay unconstitutional, expensive and inhumane. The court affirmed the unconstitutionality.

“Jail should be reserved for people who are dangerous and are serving their sentences, not mothers and fathers suspected of minor crimes who simply can’t afford to buy their freedom.

“Harris County would do right to accept the judge’s ruling and not appeal. Unfortunately, we expect an appeal. Harris County’s judges and every commissioner, except Commissioner Rodney Ellis, have dug in their heels in defense of the indefensible. They’ve already lined up attorney Charles J. Cooper, who has defended bans on interracial dating and same sex marriage, disenfranchisement of people with felonies and discriminatory redistricting, to represent them on appeal.

“We know that ultimately, courts will stop Harris County from keeping people accused of misdemeanors in jail simply because they’re too poor to pay for their freedom. The only question left to be answered is how much of taxpayers’ money will the county waste to defend this horrid, inhumane practice?”

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Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Brown communities in Texas’ three largest 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.