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Texas Bail Reform Reduced Jail Time and Crime, New Study Says

Ending cash payments for most low-level offenses is working for Greater Houston, research shows.



Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A federally mandated change in the misdemeanor bail policy of Harris County, Texas, has resulted in fewer low-level offenders in jail and improved public safety, according to a new study.

The bail reforms in the county that includes Houston, ordered five years ago as part of a consent decree, have resulted in a 13% increase in people released within the first 24 hours of a misdemeanor arrest and a 6% decrease in new prosecutions over the three years following arrest, indicating that releasing these defendants doesn’t increase recidivism, according to the study by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania.