Harvard Law School Is Paying Bail For Select Texas Inmates

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Harvard Law School is conducting a new study that will pay bail for select Texas inmates. KSAT reported that the study is paying bail for inmates in Bexar County over the next several years. Harvard Law School is working to determine what happens to low-level offenders waiting in jail simply because they cannot afford to post bail.

One San Antonio woman who was stuck in jail hopes that this study will help lead to reform. Laquita Garcia was "accused" of theft in 2010 and was put into jail with a $30,000 bond. She couldn't afford bail so she spent a year in jail and lost her job. Garcia said, "You're sitting in jail not knowing what to do, who to reach out to, who to go to for help, and feeling completely helpless." Garcia now works with the Texas Organizing Project and advocates for bail reform.

Harvard researchers are collecting data to learn just how unaffordable bail prices are. They're also using the data to determine how incarceration affects people accused of crimes.

Researchers have been asking Bexar County inmates to participate since November. The Therapeutic Justice Foundation will then choose inmates at random and post bond. Individuals who were charged with a violent crime or domestic violence are not eligible for the study.

The study will follow up with those released inmates and see if the early bail leads them toward successful paths. Harvard researcher Jim Greiner said, "We elicit information on mental and physical health, on housing security, on workforce participation, you know, etc."

Results of the study won't be available until 2025.

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