Earlier this year, Governor Rick Perry signed into law new authority to assist with local jail overcrowding. As of September 1, HB 2391 gave police discretion to issue citations instead of arresting people who commit certain low-level non-violent misdemeanors.
The Nacogdoches Sheriff made one of the most asinine comments I've heard yet on this subject:
Really? Think about that. We know the main cause of jail overcrowding in Nacogdoches is pretrial detention. But Sheriff Kerss says it wouldn't help jail ovecrowding to incarcerate FEWER people before their court date. That's just flat out not true; it's either misquoted, REALLY stupid, or utterly disingenuous.
Sheriff Thomas Kerss said the new law isn't being implemented in the county because it wouldn't necessarily reduce the jail population.
"You may delay the inevitable," he said. "If a person is charged with a Class B or above, at some point, they're still going to come into the county system, even though they may not be booked into jail at the onset."
Counties which hope to convince voters to approve new jail bonds in the future must be able to show voters they did all they could to avoid the extra expense. That's not true when local officials choose to incarcerate people they don't have to, like they're doing in Nacogdoches.