Travis County

Agenda Item

Receive update on the initiatives proposed by the “Who is in Our Jail and Why” Workgroup. (Commissioners Daugherty & Gómez)


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Feb 11, 2020 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Roger Jefferies, County Executive, JPS

David Escamilla, Travis County Attorney

Elisabeth A. Earle, Travis County Court #7

Margaret Moore, Travis County District Attorney

Jeff Burkhart, Executive Director, Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC)

George Naufal, Research Scientist, Public Policy Research Institute, Texas A&M

Bradley Hargis, Deputy Director, Capital Area Private Defenders Service (CAPDS)

Amanda Woog, Executive Director, Texas Fair Defense Project



Feb 11, 2020 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

1:14 PMWhat the future holds and that we will continue with building on the diversion programs that we have.
I just wanted to call that out. And I think this is really an important step. We were also able to reduce our number of corrections officer slots in our last budget cycle. These are pieces of that puzzle that tell a really important story.
So this is a motion to reduce the design capacity of the travis county sheriff's office jail system through the decommissioning of 192 beds. Do I have a motion?
1:15 PMMove approval.
We have a motion and a second by Commissioner Shea seconded by Commissioner Gomez. Of course this is a request to jail standards, but we do anticipate that they will look on this request kindly since they have repeatedly told us that our current facility is inefficient and in significant need of redesign. So, all those in favor?

1:15 PMThat passes unanimously with Commissioner Daugherty temporarily off the dais.
Thank you very much.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Next sort of a companion piece, let's go to the next agenda item, which is a1. A1 is to -- let me get to the language -- receive update on the initiatives proposed by the who's in our jail and why workgroup.
1:16 PMGood afternoon, roger jeffries yo, county executive for justice planning. I'm here with a whole group of folks that we want to talk to you a little bit about some new processes in the granting of pr bonds. Why don't we start by introducing ourselves. And i'll start to my left.
Good afternoon, amanda woog, executive director of the texas fair defense project.
Kimberly pierce, justice planning.
1:17 PMJudge Of county court number 7, administrative Judge For the county courts.
David, travis county attorney.
Margaret, travis county district attorney.
Adult probation and pre-trail.
Jeff, texas indigent defense commission.
George, texas a&m university.
And we have bradley here from cap ds. So, there is a subgroup that formed out of the jail population monitoring group, who's in jail and why. We presented to you in October of 2019 and talked about -- we took a snapshot of the daily jail population and talked to you about why those people were in jail. We also talked about the county's bonding process and how many people get bonds and why, and how many don't and why. That work group has continued to meet, largely led by -- spearheaded by our county attorney, district attorney and judges who wanted to further look at ways that we could possibly get even more people out on pr bonds. And the fruit of that work is here now. And we're going to let you all talk about it.
1:18 PMLet me start with, at the October presentation that roger this mentioned -- had mentioned, one of the last questions I raul recall was one from Commissioner Daugherty. He asked, are we there? Have we got a system that we're fine with and we can kind of call it a day? I recall my response was we're never there. We always have to keep striving to improve. And so the committee -- I think that shows that the committee continued meeting. We've got, in your packets here, recommendation from the committee. I'm not sure -- the one you have, it looks like you're suffering from the old double-sided pages that don't get copied. I've got one of the original copies. But the committee is going on and has worked towards some recommendations and we'll be discussing some of those with you in a little while. But I think the main thing that we're here to update you on that's gotten some news, of course, is the county court at law judges were working with us throughout on that committee and have taken the extraordinary step to move forward with a standing order providing for an automatic bond process to be added on top -- in conjunction with our already very wonderful personal bond system. I'm going to want to turn it over to elizabeth. But I went back -- I remembered as recently as September of 2018 when the state legislature was beginning to look at responsibilities and issues related to this, there was a statesman article that lauded travis county's program. So I thank you, Commissioner Shea. We heard about Judge Herman and how this all started. We have always been a county that has led in our processes, especially for personal bond. And what this does is continues to improve upon that. Margaret, do you want to start?
1:20 PMI can discuss a little bit about the staying orders and the memo that is in your packet. I'm not sure if it's in the record that it's supposed -- order it's supposed to be in, but there's a stay in order and a memo, if you have a chance to look at those. I'm happy to answer questions. David's right. Travis county, we've been lucky to have great pretrial services. People get out on personal bonds and are able to show back up. And I believe in one of the numbers I saw, when y'all did the snapshot in august, 11% of misdemeanors were in custody. The judges worked really hard on this. We talked to other judges around the state, even as recently as last week. We met with two judges from harris county who I previously had spoken with as well. And we've had a couple of judges go visit harris county. And we have another group that's paying a visit with our court administrator, as well as bradley mentioned -- I don't want to throw you out there. He's mentioned he would like to go as well for us to see how their process works in harris county. And as david mentioned, this is not replacing what we have currently. It's adding on to it. It's one step further. It's going further in some ways than harris county has done, and what the Judge In harris county told me. Our intent and our hope is people get out of jail quicker and they're not sitting there waiting for their case to be heard, and for them to be coming back and show back up to court with an attorney present for them. This order is in addition to our current pretrial services personal bond program. There are some exclusions on there, as you can see, assaultive offenses would not be a part of this group, as well as violation of protective orders, as well as driving while intoxicated charges if they are within a certain amount of time from a previous one. We have that down there just because those people could still possibly get a personal bond. And we're not preventing them from doing so. But that would be up to the magistrate on duty at that time to make that determination. If there's any questions that I can help answer at this point, or I can continue going along. Also, there's some other exceptions on here, people who have failed to show up in the past, have criminal history, those type of things that will be assessed whether or not they are -- would be someone who would come back to court.
1:22 PMLet me see if I can in a nutshell lay out what is going to happen with this and the impact of this order. You're probably aware under our current process, someone is booked and this then they are interviewed by pretrial services. And pretrial services will do a number of interviews. And they will make a recommendation to the magistrate on whether personal bond should be granted or not. And it's really up to the magistrate. There are times when, as you can tell from our snapshot and our survey we did last time, there are instances, certainly, where pretrial services does not recommend personal bond and yet the magistrate grants it. I don't recall any cases where pretrial services recommended it and a magistrate did not agree. I don't personally recall that. What this system does is keeps that. That process is still there. But on top of it, it puts basically an expressway and takes for all those misdemeanants, except for the ones the Judge Mentioned, the carveouts. And those people by this order are already granted a personal bond automatically. They're granted that personal bond. For those that are excluded that doesn't mean they don't get personal bond. There's been some confusion with this. That means they fall to the regular system that we've had here for so long that has resulted in a great number. That snapshot showed after we remove the external and local holds, 71% of misdemeanants were getting personal bond. We still need some negotiations on some of this, what will it mean. But the Judge Is correct. We're hoping it means people get out sooner and that we can actually improve on that 71%.
1:24 PMAnd that's people that are on this expressway. We were working with -- like I said, this just happened. So we were working with all the individuals that are a part of this to make it work. The sheriff's office, pretrial services, so they are on a faster track. They're not sitting in jail. When we talked to harris county, even their general order bonds, if I recall, people were sitting in jail a lot longer than what we usually do anyway on a personal bond. I feel the judges were very shocked to see how quick we were here in travis county. We can even do better. There's always room for improvement. But this has been a group effort. And I want to thank you both for spearheading this.
1:25 PMI can give you a quick update on the felony side of this. The discussions have been very good with the district judges and they have been directly engaged now in the committee's work. So what they asked the district attorney to do is furnish them with -- it's kind of the opposite of the misdemeanor approach. With the felonies, what they asked me to do is identify for them offenses for which the district attorney would not object to the granting of this preapproved personal bond, is --subject to whatever exceptions the district attorney would feel appropriate. So we're going a different way. Or I am suggesting a different way in response to the discussions with the district judges. I think the discussions are going well. And they are meeting later this week. So we'll see what action they take and how it looks. But they've been consulting with the county attorney about how legally they should approach this preapproved bond methodology. And i'm hopeful. I think we're on a good track to do that. And I think it's appropriate. We worked hard. It took -- we had been classified offenses in our office anyway. We've been trying to put together a tool by which we could, for our own management purposes, identify violent versus nonviolent and level of offense so we could see what's happening with different kinds of cases. And so we used that tool, along with our state jail criteria, to generate this list of nonviolent offenses for which we have no objection to the granting of a personal bond, subject to conditions that look a whole lot like those in the misdemeanor standing order. So that's where the felony piece of this is. And we'll be able to report back on that, I think pretty soon. The committee also discussed where do we go from here, because as david said, we're never done. There's always more work to do. And one thing I would point out is that we believe the examination by pretrial services as to the arrested person's ability to pay bond is the piece that needs to be added and will be added at the time of magistration. And we've recommended that pretrial services -- that y'all look at funding their ability to do that. We think that's a pretty important piece to be added into this. We also this. We also note there are often people who could be released on personal bond, but the magistrate considers them -- they need conditions placed on them like a gps monitor and whatever those dwi devices are that you all use. And if they are indigent and can't pay for those, the commissioners court should consider funding that. But most important probably the change we recommend moving forward to examine would be having counsel present at the magistration where the bond is being set. So that's going to require a little more -- some more meetings, some more thought because if there's defense counsel present, it May well be that the magistrate or ultimately the Judge Would want the input from the state, and we need to look at all that and come forward, but we are committed to coming to you within this budget cycle with the proposal as to how this could be done most efficiently. And I think that segue's nicely into jeff talking about a grant opportunity.
1:29 PMThank you. and to be clear, i'm not part of this committee, but i'm impressed you all are looking into this so heavily. Jeff burkhart, director of the texas indigent commission. First congratulations on hiring your first chief public defender, that's a very big deal, travis county, and a lot of the credit goes to the folks on the dais for making that happen. So congratulations. We talk about billing the public defender office, I remember this commissioners court looked at this through a few different lenses. You looked at it as a human experience. We talked about what is it like if it was my son or daughter, being arrested, going through the system. At the end of the this criminal justice system, will our kid be better off, will society be better off at the end of this? And that's fantastic. We're working on building -- we're working with about 20 counties on building new public defender offices and that's not always part of the conversation. How does that reality to counsel magistration. When they get picked up, the first time they appear in front of a Judge In texas is magistration. Right now they wouldn't have an attorney by their side in 250 of our 254 counties. The first time they show up in front of a judge, they are standing there alone, they don't have an attorney counseling them on this and this is an important moment. This is a moment where probable cause is being determined, where bail is being determined. As a practical matter, someone is deciding whether your kid or mine would be spending the next days, weeks or months in jail. And that's a very important moment to have an attorney by your side. The fifth circuit right now is considering the booth decision out of galveston. We don't know how they are going to rule, but they could say all of texas has to have counsel magistration. We're waiting to find out how that happens and my hope is that if the fifth circuit does come down on that side of it, we can go to the legislature and ask for funding so counties aren't shouldering the entire burden. That's a big concern. As far as counsel magistration, I defer to you all what's best for travis county, but ways we May be able to help. Out of the four counties current have magistration, we've helped fund a couple of those and we can continue to help with something like that. We can do a four-year grant. Normally our four-year grants we fund 60%, but another opportunity I want to bring up and I mentioned I think it was Friday when we met as a group is that right now we're funding a research study. In a a few texas counties including hays county to the south. To do a randomized control trial of counsel magistration. Essentially what this looks like, half defendants would receive counsel and the other would not on a random basis. We would study the difference. Our hope again is to have a report that shows us what kind of difference does this make. Are there cost savings for the county in terms of jail beds, is it better for the client, better for the magistrate. We have strong anectdotal evidence all of those are going to be true based on our experience in harris county and bexar county and others. Things have been a lot easier for the magistrates because when you have an attorney there, the client is not talking about the details of their case. When you have an attorney there, things tend to go a little more smoothly. But certainly better for the client, better results. Some jail bed savings, but that's anectdotal evidence so we're looking to study this. If travis county were interested in doing this study and wanted to move to full-time magistration, this could be like a phase-in into full-time magistration. Having counsel magistration. This is Dr. George mcfall and I don't know if you want to say a word or two about the study.
1:33 PMJust to follow up on what jeff mentioned, for a period of one year randomized days on which counsel would be present and on the other days counsel would not be present. On those days counsel would be present, they would basically cover all defendants for magistration. Then we will follow for another year outcome such as type of bail, recidivism and failure to appear. We would finish the study with a cost effectiveness study in terms of the cost of the counsel, in terms of the cost of savings and so on and so forth.
1:34 PMOur hope is travis county were interested in that study, basically texas a&m and partners at harvard are funded by the arnold ventures now. And that's for the research part. And tidc has been funding 100% of the representation for that one year. That's an option and i'd be happy to take any questions you might have.
Commissioners? Commissioner Daugherty, I see you wanting to ask a question. Am I wrong?
1:35 PMYou are just -- a soothsayer. Well, hey, I have really put a lot of time into this in meeting with people, and I probably have been the slowest to come around to okay, I guess some of this makes sense. Fewer people in jail means something to me. I mean that -- and I think that's probably the light thing to do. -- right thing to do. Going down this list and making stars on offenses subject to this order and I went, well, that's a pretty big deal to me and that's a pretty big deal to me. I find myself before I can just blanketly go, okay, well i'm okay with it, there's -- there May be more personal. This is probably the worst time to, you know, put burglary of an automobile in front of me today because in the last month, I mean we've had about 30 break-ins in our parking lot in my business. And so i'm really pretty worn out with, I mean, if you catch somebody doing this kind of stuff, not that I want to send them to huntsville, but I want something, you know, to go on with them. And I realize that this is just really do you let somebody out, you know, with a personal bond. And so i'm always compromised in, okay, well, if I do that, I mean because i'm one of these folks that I do think that there need to be consequences to doing something, and likely when you get caught and you are before a Judge Or when you are brought in, there's likely something that you have done unlawful. I mean you haven't been found guilty, I realize that. So I struggle with, you know, just shortcutting something as opposed to getting somebody's attention and say this, you know, is more important. And the last thing we want to do y'all is read something about where a person gets off on a personal bond, goes out, I mean unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, that to me means driving while license suspended. Is that not the same thing?
1:37 PMNo, it's driving a car that does not belong to you and for which you had no permission by the owner.
Car theft.
That's pretty big. well, I mean I know where we're trying to get and i'm just about there because I do think that it's, you know, it helps the system, helps the community, and so i'm struggling, but, you know, you might have to get a couple more people at the end of the rope to pull me all the way over because I realize i'm kind of getting, you know, brought that way. But for good reason. So I just make that comment so you know what's swirling around in my head with this, but overall, I mean I think we're getting to a spot that's a really good place for us to be. So good.
1:38 PMI'm there. i'm there. I've been there a long time. And I think I was very, very lucky that when I joined travis county back in -- way back when, I was very lucky to have seen the work done for pretrial. And for probation. And the reason for that was that to avoid having people be in jail longer than they had to. Or not having a lawyer. And so that's always been an interest to me, if we're going to have a justice system that's fair to everybody across the board. So as far as i'm concerned, i'm ready to join the study. If that's, you know, what would be the first step. Or, you know, wait for the courts to say this is what you got to do. And I think it's a necessary thing in the criminal justice system.
1:39 PMSo for me, my question comes from a little different direction because i've had my car broken into as well. And the concern that I have is for a person that might need some form of intervention. As we try to divert, how do we make sure that folks get the services that they need along the way. You know, I mean basically what I asked for the person when they caught him was I wouldn't press charges if they accepted treatment, because there was an aaddition problem. What can we do to make sure that if someone wants services or resources that we can get them to the services that they need so that they -- hopefully that they can be removed from that condition.
1:40 PMLet me try, commissioner. absolutely, but understand what we are here talking to you about is is process at booking, so they've already -- law enforcement has already believe there's probable cause so they are already booked and this is to get them out. What you are talking about is very important in this community is the options for resolution of a case. And so those opportunities for diversion, those opportunities for, you know, counseling, rehabilitation in lieu of punishment. Those are still there. This doesn't really affect that. This is the people to be able to get out sooner and be able to continue their lives so their life situation isn't further deteriorated where they might not even have the viability, the opportunity to seek diversion, rehabilitation because they are so far behind because of this incident.
1:41 PMGotcha.
Commissioner, if I May answer both you and Commissioner Daugherty, I think david escamilla is correct about the rest of the justice system is still in place, but I want to highlight the goals you are talking about, the interventions you are discussing aren't short circuited or prevented by having this. In fact, they are reinforced. To the extent there's criminal justice involvement has a positive effect or an opportunity to change trajectory of a person's life, the opportunity diminishing quickly with pre-trial incarceration. We see within only a few hours the first day any benefit that you see of jail is deteriorating rapidly. People are losing jobs, losing homes, their child care and the child arrangements are being interrupted and all of that makes it harder for a person to make the exit from the justice system you are talking about. So if you do want to have diversions and you do want to have treatment and you want to exit people from the justice system, whether they need services in another system or they are done with the justice system entirely, the best way to achieve that is get them out quickly, get them in the community, return them to their homes and families so that we don't disrupt a person's life because we've seen in various studies and we can present them all day long, the longer a person is in jail, the worse your outcomes are typically going to be. Whether you are talking the criminal justice outcome which we've seen in travis county, people get much worse outcomes, fewer options and they are not necessarily the options we like like back time and jail time. And so getting people out effectively and quickly is very important to achieving the goals that both of you were discussing which is to give people an opportunity to not get caught up long term in the criminal justice system.
1:42 PMCommissioner Shea.
1:43 PMI'm also very supportive of the randomized study of the benefits of magistration at -- what is it, the benefits of counseling magistration. But I also know that this is something where we're really struggling with revenue caps to understand how we're going to find the money to even pay for the public defender office once the tidc grant goes away. So there would have to be -- there would have to be legislation, if the courts rule that it's required, then hopefully there would be a way to convince the legislature to actually fund it because that's what's going to be necessary. What i'm trying to understand is I had thought that we essentially did this in practice already. So it would be useful for me to understand how the standing orders change or if it will represent much of a change or -- because my understanding was that when people ask me what does the county do, the biggest part is justice related, all up and down the spectrum, and I feel like we have a very humane justice system that's really tried to identify what's the root cause. And if it's because someone is mentally ill, they shouldn't be treated as a criminal, they should be medically treated because that's the bulk of what they need. So how do these -- i'm really glad we've done this. I guess maybe to make it more systematic. But can you just describe how this is different than what we had been doing and if it's much of a difference. Because my sense we were doing a lot of this already anyway. Not to diminish what you've done here, but just to understand it better.
1:44 PMAnd so the committee has in your backup I think there's some descriptions of it, but in a nutshell, like david mentioned, when someone gets arrested, they are interviewed by pretrial. Pretrial is here as well so thank you pretrial for being so instrumental in this process as well. To either, you know, recommend bond or not recommend bond, but they do extensive, you know, interview process with the individual that is arrested. How this would be different or actually in addition, that still could happen for the people excluded on the exclusion list, right? Is the judges have already signed and have already done a general order bond or a pre-approved personal bond, they mean basically the same thing, which would be those people are already -- we've already said they are okay. First time offenders, right, that are not on this list, right? They are already pre-approved. Now pretrial needs to find out information from them might be financially so we can determine whether they get a court appointed attorney and also whether or not what the bond will be set at. But that, you know, and another thing we're trying to talk to the sheriff's office about is these individuals that are pre-approved May not -- shouldn't be dressed out.
1:46 PMWhat does that mean?
In jail clothes. each be --
While they are waiting this process, they might be able to to be in street clothes.
Keep them in their street clothes. Safe, but get them in and out and processed out the door. So we are not -- we're not just meeting what harris county does in their process in time in keeping people, but it saves the jail to handle people that they need to focus on and not people that are pre-approved for this general order bond.
In short, commissioner, I think we're hoping, it's our goal from this and more work to do, of course, but it is to gain some efficiencies. There's still some discussion about, you know, is pre-trial going to be able to have some efficiencies in this process. My hope is there's some people they won't have to do this extensive of interviews that allows them to maybe concentrate on the other cases where they need that. But the efficiencies, the possible savings and more importantly the speeding of time to get someone out. And to raise the percentage from 71, i'm hoping personally that it will have some impact on that to actually raise it because of the automatic process. We're a little more challenged than harris county because of our central booking agreement with the city and because we contract with city magistrates, it's even more profound that we can't tell those judges what to do. If you notice that order is carefully crafted to not impact in any way those city magistrates and their authority and what they do. This is the county court at law judges saying we're before you and get it for these cases, we've already approved personal bond. We're not telling them to approve personal booed, we've already done it -- bond, we've already done it for these cases. We are limited in what we can tell them to do.
1:47 PMIs this something where we might take this language to the city and urge them to pass a similar standing order for their magistration judges? I don't know the system well enough --
1:48 PMI think this covers it.
I do think there is support at the city for this approach, and we have had discussions with Judge Statman and so we are mindful of their authority, but we are also believe this to be totally in sync about their philosophy.
I didn't want to give the idea they are in opposition, we have to respect their legal authority and not infringe on it. I've spoken with Judge Statman and she has voiced support for this.
Is this something the city council would have to adopt or judicial realm.
The county court at law.
I mean for the magistrate judges.
If I could add something, there's an opportunity here to streamline this process a lot further and to build in efficiencies and cost savings that we're not seeing with this initial version. There are a couple things I wanted to bring up about this standing order as it reads right now where there's -- not only significant room for improvement, but I really think to do what I hear the county saying it wants to do, which is lower the jail population, decrease the amount of time that it takes for people to get out. I would add to that also lessening the costs of pretrial conditions and pretrial release. So the process as it's being currently considered right now, folks would still go through magistration. I don't know if a lot of people -- I don't know if you all at the dais have seen what magistration looks like in travis county, but you can observe it from the jail lobby, and people are in orange uniforms, shackled in pairs, about 30 people in the room. They don't get access to an attorney. A magistrate sits in the front and read people their rights and assigns bond amounts. So it's a process that is pretty dehumanizing as it stands right now. There's a huge opportunity in this movement that we're seeing that is not currently captured in the standing order to completely bypass that in favor of letting people out who have been deemed to be low risk of not showing up to court or low public safety risk to get them out and avoid that process altogether. This goes, Commissioner Shea, to your point about the cost of counsel at magistration. If you were to adopt this process where people do not have to go through a lengthy pretrial services interview, which includes a risk assessment, and do not have to go through magistration, which would not run into a problem that I don't agree exists about the magistration, but it would bypass any concerns about splitting of authority because people wouldnt be in front of the magistrate anyway. If that process were adopted by a standing order, taking conserve sieve numbers from harris county, we're talking 75% of people charged with misdemeanors not going through that. Think about those numbers when you are thinking about who is getting provided counsel, who is going through the pretrial services risk assessment, who is getting put in front of a magistrate, and really this goal of releasing people as quickly as possible. And I think this is a place where travis county can show up harris county. Harris county is taking too long to get people out in this process. Travis county can really show harris county what's up as far as that's concerned, but it's contingent upon doing this process piece right. I also wanted to point out too, and I think again that addresses a lot of the concerns that we're hearing about costs, inefficients sir and effectiveness, and the other standing order I and others have concerns about, there's a carveout that has the risk of swallowing the entire rule, which is the last carve out in the standing order. This is something I talked to Judge Earl about and it was brought up at the Friday meeting. I hope that this is a version one because these are kind of our two major concerns with it. But I think this process piece is something that could be taken care of pretty quickly and I want on rye it rate the counsel at magistration probably shouldn't be considered seriously before this process piece is taken care of because of the potential that it has for these cost savings and increased efficiencies.
1:52 PMJudge, can I ask a quick question. Not being a lawyer, I really don't know a lot of the technicalities related to this stuff, but if you do away with the risk assessment, how do you then determine who could be released without bond?
So that's the great thing about the general order bond. So the judges in their discretion have already kind of isolated the population they think should just be let out. Risk assessment isn't necessary for people getting the general order bond already because that determination has been made.
1:53 PMAs the county attorney stated, basically it is a fast lane. We've always had a procedural presumption for personal recog in answer bond after pretrial did their assessment. Now we are making that presumption a standing order so that we can avoid some of the churn and go try to to straight to the pr bond for a large category of folks. We still have that still faster program underlaying it for anybody who doesn't fall into these categories. And the categories are -- if you look at the order which is included in the backup --
Assault of offense, violation of protective order.
All persons charged with class a and class b misdemeanor cases are pre-approved for personal recognizance bond, with the exception of violation of -- dwi second, within the past five years, which shows chronic d. U. I. -- dwi. The threat on exhibit or use firearms around school buses, persons already on a bond, those who have a bond forfeit you are warrant or bond revenue capeus issued for the case they are in front of the magistrate for. Other holds, preventing release and we've seen what those might be, state or federal holds. Persons arrested for other charges for which personal bond is not grante pursuant to this order because sometimes people are picked up and already have a pending charge that's serious. Present an imminent danger to the community and I believe that's the exception you are concerned May swallow the rule.
1:55 PMYou said to carve out or something that could be too broad.
In harris county they refer to them as carve-outs. These are already more expansive than the rule 9 in harris county that's been in place over a year, but it's the last one that causes the greatest concern because it delegates a fair amount of services to pretrial services and runs the risk of swallowing the rule depending how that's exercised.
I was trying to understand just the process piece of it. If this provides that all persons charged with class a and b misdemeanor are pre-approved for personal bond except for the following cases, does that mean the people pre-approved who don't fit into any other categories still have to go through magistration, or do they get an off ramp because they are pre-approved.
Right now how we're diagnose doing it in account from. They would still go through magistration. That's where they get the charges read to them, the right to have legal counsel and that's what amanda I think is referring to. In harris county they have people approved and correct me if I am wrong, approved for general order bonds, they are released to come back to magistration another day. I believe in harris county it's like seven days.
1:56 PMThey have to come back.
Come back to get magistrated then. We are not currently set up to do that. And i'm not saying that --
Under the u.s. constitution you still have to be magistrated. And it's a good thing, it's intended to be able to read people their rights and --
As far as I understand it in harris county, the 157 requirements end up being in the court where the case is assigned. They are not brought back only to be magistrated but brought back for first am answer, it's combining these appearances and making it more efficient rather than forcing someone to come back a week later to have something read that could have been read that day.
1:57 PMWe should take a look at those procedural efficiencies and as also as you described not having to dress somebody out would be hugely helpful for everybody involved. We'll continue to look at those procedural aspects, but I don't want to leave the impression on this commissioners court or on the public that magistration is something to be avoided and not done. We -- no, we have to magistrate people. That's an important part of their constitutional rights.
But I can see where if it could be combined with first trial date that's a more efficient process.
Under our system faster than harris county is doing it through that and that's my real concern is which is faster. Some of the information we heard on Friday is that it still takes a great -- from what I understand, longer than the numbers i'm hearing for travis county. But it's what I meant there's still more tinkering to do, more negotiation, more talking. I'm open absolutely and certainly the judges are. It's just we need to learn more and compare the responses and results.
1:58 PMWe've had a very good program for more than 40 years, and we now are going to tweak it further and improve it even more. And that is a very good thing. I think that -- it's also very -- it's wonderful to have the state sitting here with us helping us tinker with it so we can be super mindful going in. This stuff is expensive, y'all. When you experiment with procedural changes inside the court system, just the experiment is expensive. Before you even make the switch. Hopefully the switch will have benefits that not only are financial cost savings but they are also justice -- the cost of justice to the individual savings, which is really the big kahuna. We appreciate the state walking the path with us because I think last we looked, roger, is it less than 17 cents on the dollar that the state helps us out with regard to defense costs?
1:59 PMIt's less than 17 cents. I want to say 12 cents.
Closer to 12.
Less than 12 cents on the dollar. Every dollar that travis county spends on indigent defense, less than 12 cents of it is borne by the state even though it's a u. S. Constitutional requirement.
I do think the opportunity for the study is very timely for us and could give us some excellent information moving forward.
2:00 PMIs there a deadline for applying?
No, I think we would have to talk about it. It's something we could bring to our board for approval at any quarterly board meeting. We'll be meeting next March 12 and after that I believe June 18. And there May be some additional funding from -- you know, even if that is beyond the arnold foundation's deadline, we've been talking there May be additional foundations that May support an effort like that. And the only other thing in terms of cost because Commissioner Shea, that you are talking about in terms of cost, we're hearing that that exact thing again and again from every county. That's a big concern across the state. We would fund 100% the first year. Assuming that's successful and works out travis county and you can show there's cost savings and benefits to individuals, my hope is that we would still be able to go back to our board and look at a four-year grant where we fund maybe 50% of that and request that from our board. We're happy to partner with you any way we can.
2:01 PMThat will be great. we will be looking at putting together for budget purposes whether for this budget, still I think we should do it before this budget. We might not be able to afford it though, is take a look at -- get the sharpest pencil we can on what representation at magistration would cost. Not -- and I don't want to have unrealistic expectations here. We need to have a sharp pencil and figure how much it would cost under a 3. 5 revenue cap. It's going to be a large number. This kind of pilot would be important to us so that we would know what kind of offsetting benefits there are both in human benefit and in financial benefit because it will be a big number.
2:02 PMI just want to be honest about that. To everybody. And the pie is only so large. So we May have to figure out a different way to slice the pie.
This is great. this is very helpful information.
Thank you.
We really appreciate it and this demonstrates how many different entities are necessary and what's the old joke how many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb. How many different lawyers, advocates, pretrial service folks, managers, financial people, facilities people, et cetera, et cetera does it take to make a real substantive evolution in the criminal justice system. A lot. Thank you.
I just want to point out that directly impacted people have not really deliberately been brought to the table in these discussions and I hope that moving forward as these processes continue to be crafted and we think of things like not changing clothing and ways to humanize the process more, I hope there will be a deliberate effort to bring people who have been through the system to the table more.

2:03 PMA very good point. thank you.
Thank you all.
All right. we are at 2:00 in the afternoon. We do want to return to the cafeteria number, agenda item number 28, consider and take appropriate action on a license agreement with the sterling events hospitality to operate the cafeterias. I believe there was a standing motion by Commissioner Shea, seconded by Commissioner Daugherty to approve the contract with revisions that were refined over the lunch break. Are we good with the revisions?
2:04 PMYes, judge, I met with Mr. El khoury and paul hopingardner.