San Antonio – In the past two years, Bexar County’s handover and release program has significantly reduced the number of people in the county jail who are charged with possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to new data from District Attorney Joe Gonzales on Tuesday. Was released by.
The report, released at the midpoint of Gonzales’ 4-year term, states that in 2018, a year before the policy went into effect, the DA’s office heard 4,515 Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession cases. In 2020, DA prosecuted 16 cases. This is a decrease of 99.6%.
“As a result of this and related policies, the DA’s office went from filing approximately 4,500 Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession cases in 2018,” to 2020 in fact there are none.
Under the county’s handover and release program launched in 2019, officers have the discretion to issue a citation instead of arresting someone for some non-violent misdemeanor offenses such as marijuana, paytm theft and driving with an illegal license is charged with. The program is a joint effort between SAPD, the Sheriff’s Office, other local law enforcement agencies, and the District Attorney.
The new report states that the program saved taxpayers $ 2.6 million in booking costs from July 2019 to December 2020 alone.
“This is a huge benefit for law enforcement because instead of spending most of their time during their shifts, arresting the person, booking them, for example, could free the officer to handle more serious cases.” Is, ”Gonzales said.
There has been a significant decrease in lawsuits in the last two years.
While announcing the policy in 2019, Gonzales said It will “help us prosecute the most serious crimes while keeping our prison free of people who shouldn’t be there. Jail is for people who are really violent, not people who are non-violent, not People who are lethargic are waiting for their day in court. ”
A portion of Gonzels’ midterm report released on Tuesday was cited and released data as an overview of the first two years of his office. He said that this is the first report of its kind to come out of the DA’s office.
“We are in the interest of this transparency because what was important to me was to report to the citizens of Bexer County about the work that all 500 employees of the office are doing,” Gonzales said.
The report also touched:
New policy on criminal trespass cases of people experiencing homelessness
Go paperless with the new BexarEIS program
Use of the office’s new online dashboard that provides public access to real-time data about cases, charges and trends
Overall, Gonzales says the first two years have been a success and is really proud of the creation of the Cite and Release program and the brand new rights division.
“We want families to know that we are about to join them and will monitor the progress of their cases,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales says that over the next two years he wants to work to curb the rise in domestic violence cases.
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