Right on Crime applauds Texas Governor Greg Abbott for taking steps to improve Texas’ bail system by signing the Damon Allen Act into law. The new law will stop the personal bond release of suspects charged with violent offenses and honors Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen who was murdered in 2017 by a man released on a low bond after committing another violent crime.
“Texas has a reputation as a national model for improving public safety through effective criminal justice reform, and pretrial reform is no different,” says former U.S. Attorney and Executive Director of Right on Crime, Brett Tolman. “Many states are watching Texas in anticipation of this new law which will help keep dangerous criminals off the streets and prevent low-risk offenders from sitting in jail simply because they cannot afford bail.”
The Damon Allen Act, Senate Bill 6, goes into effect in 90 days. It will improve training for magistrates, increase transparency in the pretrial system, and provide magistrates with more information when making bail decisions. It bans cashless releases for violent offenders and those accused of sexual offenses, while giving greater flexibility in bail options for low-level offenders. The law requires a monthly report to be made public showing which Texas judges set bonds for violent criminals.
“We are grateful Gov. Abbott prioritized bail reform in Texas, and this would not have been possible without his leadership,” says TPPF board member Doug Deason.
“It’s disappointing that SJR 3, the accompanying constitutional amendment that would have expanded judges’ ability to deny bail in dangerous cases, failed to pass in a political tug-of-war,” said Nikki Pressley, Texas State Director for TPPF’s Right on Crime. “We will continue working for a pretrial system in Texas based on risk, rather than ability to pay.”
Right on Crime is a national initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation supporting conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders and lowering taxpayer costs.