TCJE continually fights to reduce the overall front-end push of people into the justice system, including through fewer prosecutions. In February 2019, DA Kim Ogg asked the Harris County Commissioners for $20 million for 102 new prosecutors, claiming that additional prosecutors would help reduce high attorney caseloads and provide more opportunities for diversion. TCJE and TOP opposed the DA’s budgetary request, highlighting concerns with redirecting money from needed services, like mental health and substance use treatment.
Jay also testified in opposition at the Commissioner’s Court hearing, emphasizing the DA’s mandate of high bail requests in misdemeanor cases, arguing that prosecutorial policies annually ensnare thousands of people and put the immigrant community at risk, and recommending the more effective strategy of refusing to prosecute low-level charges.
Ultimately, the Commissioners voted 4-1 to reject the request.
Later in 2019, TCJE and 9 partners again opposed DA Ogg’s request for $7.4 million for 58 additional prosecutors through a letter to commissioners. Commissioners ultimately provided less funding than requested, limiting the number of new prosecutors.