Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend of Texas | We Investigate

6 Investigates: Sheriff says district attorney’s policy change doesn’t add up

A policy change by the district attorney meant to save taxpayer money doesn’t add up.

That’s according to Nueces County Sheriff John C. Hooper who oversees county jail operations.

The policy exposed by 6 Investigates ordered prosecutors on Aug. 8 to drop or dismiss non-violent felony charges against people determined to be in the country illegally. That policy is still in place.

The reason behind the policy change was to save tax dollars for those people still being held in the county jail, Gonzalez said, during an interview last week.

But the jail is reimbursed for those housing costs, Hooper said.

“And the most recent reimbursement that we got was for the year 2017, and we received $40,000,” the sheriff said in an interview Monday.

When explaining the policy change, the district attorney cited a case where a man was determined to be in the country illegally and was held in the jail 410 days, costing taxpayers about $33,000.

Jail records show that inmate was actually held just 331 days, Hooper said.

The idea behind the new policy, Gonzalez explained, is to speed up the immigration process by dismissing charges for those arrested for non-violent felonies. Once that happens, the defendant is transferred to federal custody and processed.

 

Jessica Savage

Jessica Savage

Award-winning investigative reporter who has worked in East Texas and South Texas.
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