Release Non-Violent Offenders from Dallas County Jails Immediately

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Adwoa Asante
Adwoa Asante signed this petition

ISSUE

Dallas County Jail currently houses thousands of people. Many of whom are accused and have NOT been convicted, thus have a constitutional presumption of innocence. An overwhelming amount are incarcerated for property, drug, and petty offense accusations and convictions. The jail is not equipped to diligently deal with a COVID 19 outbreak. An outbreak of COVID19 could result in mass casualties and put additional strain on medical resources that are already expected to be stretched thin. Incarcerated people cannot engage in social distancing and the entire country does not have enough tests to ensure safety at the jail.

In addition to incarcerated persons, an outbreak of COVID 19 would jeopardize the safety of Public Defenders (who are on the frontline of indigent defense), private criminal defense attorneys (who are also trying to protect their clients), jail staff, bailiffs/guards, judges, clerks, and all our family members and friends in the community.

We must act now or else thousands of people will die as it is a matter of WHEN not "if" the jail becomes a site of this pandemic.

ACTION

As demonstrated by the chaos that is occurring on Rikers Island, and the policies set in Harris County, we request the following policies:

1a. that the Presiding Judges for the County and District Courts order the immediate release of all non-violent offenses at the misdemeanor and felony level.

We are requesting that those in jail be assigned no-bond bonds so that attorneys, judges, clerks, bailiffs, court reporters etc. are not burdened with the processing of personal recognizance bonds (PR bonds)

Offenses such as:

Criminal Trespass
Prostitution
Theft/Bribery/Credit Card Abuse/Forgery/False Statement To Obtain Credit
Criminal Mischief
Possession of Marijuana/Possession of Dangerous Drug/Possession of CS
Driving while Intoxicated
Failure To Identify/Obstruction of a Passageway/Interference/Evading
Manufacture/Delivery of Substance (esp those with pending labs)
Healthcare Fraud
Graffiti
FLID
DWLI
Indecent Exposure etc.

1b. that the Presiding Judges for County and District Courts utilize an expedited process for those who don’t qualify for immediate release. This could look like the expanded use of pre-trial release, ankle monitors, etc. 

1c. this would not apply to incarcerated people with ICE holds. Persons with immigration detainers should be given the option to reject or accept a no-bond bond after consultation with their criminal defense attorney.

2. That the Dallas County District Attorney's Office digitally dismiss all minor offenses without a complaining witness to clear case dockets in the upcoming months:

all Possession of Marijuana offenses,
all Possession of Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance offenses
necessity Thefts
Failure to Identify (esp those without warrants or those with ticket warrants)
DWLIs

etc.

3. The early release of all county drug, property, and petty offense convictions. That all those serving county time that are non-violent offenders have their sentences commutated and/or suspended.

Persons addicted to drugs, engaging in survival sex work (referred offensively as prostitution), criminally trespassing at public places such as DART, McDonalds etc. should not be unnecessarily incarcerated and should get credit for the time they've served and the rest of their sentence forgiven.