Today the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. sent a letter to Harris County, TX district judges calling for the court to hold emergency jail release hearings to release at least 4,000 individuals incarcerated in the Harris County Jail. Of the 8,923 people incarcerated in the Harris County Jail, 7,801 are being held pretrial and have not been convicted of a crime. Though Black people comprise only 18% of Harris County’s population, almost half of the people incarcerated in the county are Black. Like prisons and jails across the nation, the Harris County Jail has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and statewide power outages have made the situation untenable. The severity of the public health emergency requires officers of the court to take swift, affirmative action to protect the civil and human rights of individuals in state custody and lessen the untold human suffering taking place in the Harris County Jail.
LDF joins local and national advocacy groups to call upon district judges to:
Read the full letter here.