HARRIS COUNTY, TX – Mayor Sylvester Turner will sign an executive order authorizing a new cite-and-release program for the Houston Police Department, aiming to let people off with just a ticket instead of serving jail time for minor offenses.
The new policy, introduced by HPD earlier this month, would now allow officers an alternate option to simply issue out tickets instead of arresting individuals under minor misdemeanors classes.
Certain class A and class B violations will fall under the new policy change, such as graffiti, theft totaling less than $750 in value, and driving with an invalid license.
The policy does not apply to minors under 17, non-Harris County residents, suspects with outstanding warrants, or suspects on parole, among other disqualifications. For possession of small amounts of marijuana, suspects will be directed to the county’s marijuana diversion program instead.
In lieu of jail time, offenders will be offered a citation and will be required to show up in court for sentencing to volunteer hours or an applicable diversion program.