District Attorney Ogg Statement on Harris County Bail Reform
For Immediate Release
November 1, 2019
Houston, TX – District Attorney Kim Ogg has been the driving force in Harris County criminal justice reform implementing historic progressive policies—never sacrificing public safety over ideology.
DA Ogg's stance on needed reforms in our criminal justice system has never wavered. District Attorney Kim Ogg has never opposed reforming the bail system. Her policies have kept tens of thousands of non-violent defendants out of jail and out of the cash bail system. The average monthly number of people held in the Harris County Jail pretrial for misdemeanors dropped by about 40%* in the last three years. Personal Recognizance bonds for non-violent offenders were supported and unopposed by ADAs since the early days of Ogg administration. There is no doubt Kim Ogg has been a driving force in criminal justice reform.
DA Ogg has had recent objections to portions of the bail reform settlement, not bail reform in and of itself. Our District Attorney supports the best reforms possible for Harris County. All decisions made in the HCDAO are made based on the evidence, and she believes portions of the bail settlement would endanger the public unnecessarily. Violent misdemeanors covered in the settlement include domestic violence offenders, pimps, and drunk drivers. These defendants can pose an immediate risk to the community, and as District Attorney, it is her duty to protect public safety.
"We are for bail reform as long as it protects the public. But to have our concerns dismissed or diminished, or to be called obstructionist simply because we are trying to tell the public that there's some danger here, and we want to warn you about it, is not just unfair, it disingenuous, said DA Kim Ogg at a recent press conference. So, it's important that the public is advised that we are for bail reform."
The final settlement will be decided by Judge Rosenthal and the parties involved in the suit. In our county courts, as has always been the case, the judges on the bench make the final decisions on bail. The DA will continue in her role in criminal justice as the front door of the system, where she diverts low-level, non-violent offenders out of the system and charges fairly and equally. We hope our allies and friends take into account the responsibility the District Attorney has to public safety when trying to understand the importance of real criminal justice reform and the ramifications they have on the public.
*Texas Commission on Jail Standards