Get smart on crime
Ann Johnson worked much of her career in the criminal justice system, both as Harris County’s Chief Human Trafficking Prosecutor and now privately representing human trafficking victims and the indigent. She has seen firsthand how our current system fails to deliver equality under the law or safety for our communities. It’s time for meaningful criminal justice reform. As your State Representative, Ann will:
- Combat over-incarceration
- Strengthen accountability for police
- Build holistic solutions to crime, not just jail
Build holistic solutions that address our communities’ problems
For too long, imprisonment has served as the catch-all solution for homelessness, drug addiction and mental illness. We must dedicate funding to provide necessary care. Ann is a founding member of the Harris County CARE Court, which assists those at risk of human trafficking in their recovery. She strongly believes in problem-solving courts, which get judges and social workers working to solve problems, to help those struggling with underlying issues.
Combat inequitable outcomes and over-incarceration
Over 200,000 Texans are behind bars, many of them awaiting trial or serving sentences for nonviolent crimes. Black Texans are incarcerated more than twice as often as white Texans. This system is unjust and expensive, costing taxpayers over $3 billion—roughly $20,000 per inmate annually.
We must use effective alternatives to incarceration whenever possible. Strong diversion programs provide nonviolent offenders the mental health treatment they need rather than jail. They give minor offenders alternative dispositions.
We must reform bail for non-violent offenders, holding Texans awaiting trial based on the risk they pose rather than their ability to pay bail. Even a short time in jail can produce job loss, so we must use pretrial incarceration only to keep us safe.
Raise age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18
Texas is among a handful of states that consider 17-year-olds adults under criminal law, a damaging and unfair practice. Our society treats 17-year-olds as children in almost every other aspect, from voting to joining the military.
Adult prisons are dangerous for 17-year-olds, with greater risk of sexual assault. Seventeen-year-olds are 36 times more likely to commit suicide while imprisoned and 34% more likely to be re-arrested for criminal offenses. Kids are often held in solitary confinement to protect them from adult prisoners. An adult criminal record creates barriers to employment, education, housing and military service, setting our kids up for a difficult re-entry.
Stronger accountability and standards for police
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless others by police officers make clear: We must reform policing practices to ensure good officers get the training and support they need and that bad officers are held accountable. Systemic reform must address the racism and injustice inherent in our criminal justice system.
Defunding police is not the solution; Ann knows that better policing is. Local officials play a major role in reforms, but the state government should too. We must ban chokeholds. We must train our police on de-escalation and handling mental illness and addiction. And we must increase universal body camera usage, create state-wide systems to track police misconduct, and increase penalties for excessive use of force.
Sarah Davis understands corporate law as a partner in a big-name Houston firm. Ann Johnson combats human trafficking of young women and defends them without fees in court. Who better understands the need for criminal justice reform?