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New Harris County Officials Vow To Reform The Criminal Justice System

Officials say they plan go after some of the county’s biggest problems in a different way.

Overlooking the Texans field at NRG Stadium, dozens of new office holders took part in a public event to celebrate the beginning of their terms.

After over 25 years in the State Senate, Rodney Ellis has now been sworn in as Harris County’s Precinct One Commissioner. So what’s the first thing he wants to do?

“An immediate issue, the first thing I think that voters will see from all of us who were elected this cycle is changes in the criminal justice system that are sensible, that make our community safer,” says Ellis.

As for specific changes, new District Attorney Kim Ogg says one thing she wants to tackle is marijuana reform.

“Because I made a promise that all misdemeanor possession cases would be directed around the jails,” adds Ogg.  

As for whether that will help reduce the county’s high jail population, new sheriff Ed Gonzales says it won’t solve everything but it will be a big step.

“We’ve got to really go after hardened criminals, that are the ones really terrorizing our communities,” says Gonzalez. “And I don’t think we’re doing that sufficiently enough. We’ve got to re-change the focus a little bit and go after those bigger criminals.”

Gonzalez says it’s also an issue of money, and the millions of dollars it cost every year to house people in jail.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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