Friends- As we enter into the Christmas Holidays, there are 8 to 10,000 souls in the Harris County Jail tonight. Not all these folks need to spend the Holidays locked up, behind bars, and away from their loved ones. A good number of souls are locked up and behind bars who should not be. Why do I say this?
Consider of those 8-10,000 souls, a number fit the following description:
- They are charged but their case is pending and unresolved, thus they are presumed innocent;
- They are charged with a non-violent misdemeanor or a state jail felony of possesion of under a gram of a controlled substance.
- They have never been in trouble before ;
- They are US Citizens;
- They have family in Houston or Texas;
- They have been determined by a county agency, not to pose a danger to anyone or the community;
- They have been determined by a county agency, not to pose a flight risk;
- They would have made a bond but could not afford it;
- They didnt get a PR bond because the judge in their court thought it best to let them sit in jail during the Holidays.
It is wrong for the above-described presumptively innocent accused, to be denied PR bonds and kept in Jail; Particularly over the Holidays. For the most part they are in jail simply because they are too poor to hire a bondsman and judges lack either the heart, the wisdom or political courage to grant them PR Bonds.
If you know of someone who is in jail right now, and they fit the description I have given, email me at [email protected] . To be clear, I am not soliticiting cases. I will not represent anyone I am contacted about. I am soliticiting human stories. I want to know who the people are, who are being abused by this system. I want their stories to be told.I want to put a face on this inhumanity.
As we enter into this Holiday it might be worth reflecting on what our JudeoChristian Religions have taught us about how we should treat the poor. The present systematic denial of PR bonds to the Poor seems entirely inconsistent with our shared religious upbringings:
Deut 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
Isiah 10:1-3 “Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who continually record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of my people of their rights…
Ezek. 22:29,31″The People of the Land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and the needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice…Thus I have poured out My indignation on Them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath;their way I have brought upon their heads,” declares the Lord God.
Proverbs 21:13 “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.”
Proverbs 29:7 ” The righteous care about Justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Job 29:12 ” I rescued the poor who cried for help, and the fatherless who had none to assist them.”
Matthew 5:3 ” Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is kingdom of heaven”
Matthew 25:41-45 When Jesus comes to the Earth and judges between the sheep and the goats, “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘ Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘ I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least amoung you, you did not do for me”
First John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can God be in him?”
Jesus Christ said, If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven .
As we enter the Holidays, perhaps some of our Judiciary, will look to their own faith and find a renewed commitment to take men one at a time. Perhaps the poor will find a leader among the Judges who will show the others the way.
Robb Fickman, Houston