ACLU Comment on Harris County Request to Increase Jail Capacity

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
November 3, 2016 4:30 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Texas
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

HOUSTON – Today, Harris County requested permission from the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) to extend its variance bed capacity to allow nearly 200 inmates to sleep on plastic cots on the floor. The Harris County jail system contains one of the highest rates of pre-trial, legally innocent defendants in lockup. According to the TCJC jail population report, about 70 percent of defendants in Harris County have not been convicted of a crime.

The following may be attributed to Satinder Singh, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas:

“Variances are measures of last resort, not first options. Before asking for a variance, the Sheriff should examine his office’s policies that have made the county’s jails dangerously overcrowded. Instead of arresting people for low-level drug offenses, Hickman could require his officers to issue citations and keep them out of jail. He doesn’t need anyone’s permission to make that change.”

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in Prisoners' Rights

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About Prisoners' Rights

Prisoners' Rights issue image

The National Prison Project is dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s prisons, jails, and detention centers comply with the Constitution, domestic law, and human rights principles.