Data showing number of offenders on multiple bonds skyrocketing
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – The Harris County DA’s Office compiled the data for a Senate Committee Hearing on Senate Bill 6.
That bill went into effect January 1, and it makes judges more accountable when it comes to granting felony bonds.
“We are not getting as many egregious bond decisions as we were getting up until December 31, 2021,” said first assistant district attorney David Mitcham.
According to the District Attorney, having defendants on eight or more felony bonds was unheard of until 2020. That year, it was 25 defendants. It rose to 49 defendants in 2021.
“But now it’s not an uncommon occurrence and that’s where you’re getting a lot of the crime wave we’ve been experiencing,” Mitcham said.
The number of offenders out on two to four felony bonds has almost tripled between 2019 and 2021.
“I have a hard time understanding how a third bond works, and I don’t have any recollection of judges granting third, fourth, fifth, sixth, eight bonds. Now, we see these on a regular basis, and in my view this is contributing to the crime wave,” said Mitcham.
895 violent offenders were granted personal recognizance bonds in 2019. That number rose to 1,097 in 2020 and shot up to 1,283 in 2021.
The number of defendants charged with violent felonies, who’ve been granted PR bonds or get out of jail free cards, have plummeted to a number I haven’t seen in years, and that’s a direct result to Senate Bill 6,” said Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers.
“And by the exposure of the problem by the media, such as the program we are on right now, it has brought focus to this issue, and we are seeing some progress,” Mitcham said.
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