Houston computer glitch leads to hundreds being released from jail, shines light on bigger issue


HOUSTON (Nexstar) — A laptop program glitch in Houston led to the launch of hundreds of men and women being held in jails there on Wednesday.

The glitch saved folks who had been arrested ready in custody for much more than two days, devoid of getting their situation processed. That is longer than point out law permits, foremost to these defendants getting unveiled.

At least one decide blamed a backlog in conditions, creating it virtually unattainable to maintain defendants any more time.
That draws awareness to a larger sized statewide issue.

You could count on an regular of 186 prison jury trials to be held across Texas every single week prior to the pandemic. In 2020, that selection dropped to 4. This is according to Texas 2036, a nonprofit that tracks this type of information and facts to help with data-motivated techniques.

“The pandemic certainly, saved us from resolving cases for a yr and a fifty percent or so,” Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau explained.

Mau mentioned all courts at a variety of ranges across the state are now taking part in catchup with little home for mistake or system glitches, like Houston observed, including to its total backlog.

Texas lawmakers are doing some driving-the-scenes work to deal with how to velocity up that process, but that could acquire up to 5 yrs according to Texas 2036.

“It’s not anything at all that is likely to be simply just set by making courts, extra judges … it is going to choose a ton of doing work on efficiencies on those people cases,” said Joe Moody, District 78 point out representative.

Moody is the vice chair of the interim committee on criminal justice reform. He’s prepping for the up coming legislative session and said addressing the court docket backlog is top of mind.

“If folks have to have to be in that system, we understand that. But if they do not want to be there, let’s figure out how to keep track of them out,” Moody stated. “And let us make certain that we’re not clogging the process unnecessarily, so that when we have unprecedent activities like this, it doesn’t build a disaster.”

Bettering technology could be a single way to tackle the courtroom backlogs. Last session, lawmakers approved expending a 50 %-million bucks each fiscal yr to implement a know-how modernization plan.

The funding could boost past $4 million for every year dependent on how successful the method is at lowering court docket backlogs.


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