Alternatives to Incarceration

Harris County signals support for adding courts, public defenders

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez speaks at a press conference during the Gun Buyback campaign at Alexander Deussen Park on February 18, 2023 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura for Houston Chronicle

Harris County Commissioners Court this week approved a package of public safety measures to support state legislation to create additional district courts, expand the county's holistic assistance response team program and look at enlarging the public defender's office. The measures are aimed at ongoing efforts to reduce the ongoing backlog in the county's criminal courts system and relieve persistent jail overcrowding.

Focus on drug harm reduction, not punishment

Illustration of prison cell via Baylor Lariat

The U.S. is fighting a losing battle with the War on Drugs — arrests for drug-related offenses continue to soar and deaths from drug overdoses are only increasing. The U.S. continues to disregard how drugs impact the lives of so many in the name of justice, and a change needs to be made. Instead of contributing to the over-criminalization of drugs, lawmakers should make a more significant effort with harm reduction. Lives are at stake.

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