The following is a statement from Laquita Garcia, Policy Coordinator with the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), in response to House Bill 20 being voted out of the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence Friday afternoon:
“After hours of testimony in staunch opposition to this bill, we are livid to see HB 20 be passed out of committee. If enacted, it would exacerbate our state’s mass incarceration problem while further criminalizing poverty, guaranteeing that more Texans — disproportionately Black and Latino — stay stuck in jail solely because they cannot afford bail.
“In addition, the bill would largely take away a judge’s discretion to release people on personal recognizance bond, and would require discriminatory risk assessment tools to be used for all who cannot afford to purchase their release. These same risk assessment tools exacerbate racial disparities in our legal system and make people without money seem riskier, only funneling the poor into a cyclical trap of incarceration.
“Our fight continues against this inhumane reactionary bill and other proposals like it that seek to shatter the progress groups like TOP have made across the state to end the oppressive cash bail system.”
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.
This statement was sent out April 12, 2021.