AUSTIN — The Texas Office of Court Administration on Sunday launched a new public safety reporting system that will help set bail.
The new system, which would require those charged with violent crimes to pay money to get out of jail, is part of the state’s revisions to its bail process. Passed as part of Senate Bill 6 in the special session, the reform became law in August.
“The current bail system in Texas allows for the continued release of habitual and violent offenders on multiple criminal personal obligations,” Senator Joan Huffman wrote in a bill analysis. “SB 6 aims to address the release practices of habitual and violent offenders and aims to better protect the safety of their victims, law enforcement and communities at large.”
The program requires magistrates setting bail for defendants charged with a Class B misdemeanor or higher category offense to review a public safety report generated by the PSRS.
The report contains a summary of the individuals criminal history, whether they are eligible for a personal bond and other important information such as other prior failures to appear in court while out on bail and awaiting trial. charges, in accordance with the law.
The bill also requires any magistrate, judge, sheriff, peace officer or jailer who sets bond to complete a bond form and submit it to the OCA within 72 hours.
The OCA will maintain the reporting system.
Huffman said that currently the Texas bail system as a whole lacks transparent and readily available information, making it difficult to study the system’s effectiveness and properly assess the risk of defendants in court. within the system.
“SB 6 would allow defendants to receive in-depth individual assessments, as well as increase data reporting to create a more accountable system,” Huffman said.