WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Lawmakers are hopeful with Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s support, two new bills looking to change the way bail bonds are determined in the Lone Star State will pass.
Texas lawmakers are narrowing down ways to reform bail. Efforts that have been in the works for years are now starting to take shape. Gov. Greg Abbott’s support has given lawmakers some momentum.
This could be game changer for these bills, which is leaving some in the bail industry on edge.
“I don’t think it’s good economically, for us of course. Should it pass, a no cash bail, we are out of business. I don’t really think it’s good for our clients or our county. In the long run there are going to be clients that get stuck in jail. A computer will be scoring them that says they shouldn’t be released on bail so they are going to (...) sit until they go to trial,” said Cheryl Gillem.
Owner of UR Bondsman Bail Bond said it will creates more work for Wichita County that she believes they don’t have the man power for.
She said her service works with officials to make sure her clients make it to their court dates. She adds while lawmakers are attempting to solve one problem they are causing another.
“More poor people end up taking more plea deals because they are stuck in jail” said Giliem.
Those in support of the bills say billions of dollars are spent each year to jail Americans that haven’t been convicted. They think it will balance the scales when it comes to the wealthy and the poor in regards to bails.
Gov. Abbott says his main focus is making it harder for dangerous defendants to get out of jail.
Tuesday, State Senator Pat Fallon (R-District 30) released the following statement regarding bail reform efforts in the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature:
“Our priority as legislators is first and foremost the protection of public safety; I look forward to supporting proposals that protect innocent life, keep violent criminals off our streets, and prevent tragedies like the death of Damon Allen. I look forward to watching bail reform proposals as they advance through the legislative process.”
Gillem says she is hoping bail bonds and lawmakers can meet in the middle with the final legislation.
“I think there can be bail reform without doing away with cash bail. I’m hoping that we can come down somewhere in the middle. ”
Bail reform may take additional resources, funds, and staff.