Harris County District Attorney’s Office releases Five Year Report

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has released its Five Year Report highlighting award-winning diversion programs, juvenile justice reforms and the number of defendants who have been diverted from the criminal justice system both pre-arrest and pre-trial, District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.

“In my first term of service, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office tackled the toughest hurdles it has ever seen,” Ogg said. “We faced the devastating losses wrought by Hurricane Harvey and the COVID-19 pandemic that created volatile situations in our communities and resulted in the worst backlog of criminal cases in our history.”

To get through it, the District Attorney’s Office became a “paperless” prosecution office by scanning more than 50 million pages. Additionally, the office is moving forward with a strategic plan to reduce the case backlog that has yielded a steady decrease in overall cases while focusing on getting Harris County’s most violent and dangerous criminals to trial and bringing justice to crime victims and their families, Ogg said.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • The Mental Health Diversion Program successfully reduced the number of mentally ill offenders put in jail by more than 4,000, saving taxpayers millions of dollars with no threat to public safety.
  • Five years of success with the Misdemeanor Marijuana Diversion Program saved taxpayers more than $26 million a year with no negative impact on crime in Harris County.
  • A decrease in juvenile case filings of 38 percent between 2018 and 2019, with 48 percent of school cases now being diverted from formal court processing, is helping to end the school-to-prison pipeline, while violent offenders continue to face accountability in the juvenile courts.
  • The district attorney fought to increase the number of prosecutors in the interest of public safety, so that cases can be concluded faster.
  • The office changed its recruiting policies and hiring practices to emphasize the importance of different perspectives. Since 2017, the hiring of African American prosecutors increased by 82 percent, Hispanic prosecutors by 137.5 percent and Asian prosecutors by 180 percent.
  • The district attorney exonerated five previously convicted offenders since January 2017.

Read the entire report here