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Statement by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in Response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s bail reform proposal

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation supports pretrial justice reforms that make communities safer while protecting the constitutional rights of citizens. We await further information and legislative discussion on the Damon Allen Act proposed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who emphasized the need for a risk-based approach that gives judges a more complete picture of a defendant’s future threat. We believe evidence-based approaches such as the Public Safety Assessment, currently used by Texas’ largest county to make decisions based on an individual’s level of risk, can play a vital role in these reforms. We view the Damon Allen Act as an opportunity to pursue common-sense, needed reforms that move Texas away from a flawed system in which high-risk individuals who can pay bail are released and low-risk individuals who can’t are incarcerated.

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