AUSTIN, Texas - Travis County district judges have issued an order on low-level, non-violent felony cases in an effort to reduce the jail population in Travis County due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The order allows certain persons charged with low-level, non-violent felony crimes to be automatically released from jail on a personal bond. The District Attorney's office says the order is the result of numerous meetings and discussions among the county's criminal justice stakeholders, such as DA Margaret Moore and County Attorney David Escamilla.
“What we have implemented this to do is to minimize the number of booked individuals being introduced into the general population of the jail," said Moore."It’s weighing and it’s a balancing act but our first consideration is the safety of the public and our next consideration is the safety of the folks in jail which includes inmates and corrections officers.”
Offenses the order applies to include possession of a controlled substance, credit or debit card abuse, prostitution, theft, and other low-level felony crimes.
The DA's office says the measure was under consideration before the COVID-19 State of Emergency, and, although the impact of the order will hopefully have a positive effect on the number of persons introduced into the jail population, discussions about the order have been underway for weeks.
There are exceptions to the new order, including people who are charged with a new offense while on pre-trial release, have a warrant for failing to appear in court or a bond forfeiture, or have a parole revocation, among others.
READ THE STANDING ORDER BELOW:
Since the outbreak, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office has stepped up sanitation efforts in booking and has moved in-person visitation to video. As of Wednesday morning, 20 inmates are being monitored for illnesses. Only one inmate has met CDC criteria to be tested, and their results came back negative. For more information on efforts made in response to COVID-19, visit TCSO's website.
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