HB 3011 is a bail reform bill filed in the Texas Legislature filed by Representative Andrew Murr of District 53 (comprised of several counties in the Kerrville area), and in the senate, SB 1338, by Senator John Whitmire of Houston. “The [Texas] Judicial Council recommends that this be standard practice throughout the state,” Hecht said. “Liberty and common sense demand this reform.” Click Here to Learn More
This legislation would modernize Texas bail law and improve the lives of thousands across the state who find themselves sitting in a jail cell. The bill would implement a risk-based bail system, which would result in using jails only for those who present genuine public safety risks while releasing the vast majority of people on personal recognizance (PR) bonds.
Currently, if you are arrested in Texas today, you will almost certainly be required to pay money to get out of jail. For most people who cannot pay the entire amount of the bail set, the only viable way to get out of jail is by making a non-refundable payment to a bondsman.
The use of PR bonds, based on a validated risk assessment, is what the bail bill would implement. There are a tremendous amount of people arrested who are low-level and low-risk, and should be promptly released on a PR bond. Terry W. Yates says, “Money not spent with a bondsman can then be used to for defendants to hire the attorney of their choice.”
This is a win-win situation for the taxpayer and the accused citizen. It will save the taxpayers money by not housing people in jail as well as not having to pay for court appointed attorneys for incarcerated defendants. Defendants will be quickly released so they can return to their families and employers.
There will no doubt be a pushback from some people in law enforcement and the bail bond lobby. Hopefully, some version of this bill will pass so that the antiquated Texas Bail system will be modernized.