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WHAT TO EXPECT WITH SENATE BILL 1849

By: Jade Championblog

June, 2017

Senate Bill 1849, formerly known as House Bill 2702, also known as the Sandra Bland Act, is currently awaiting signature on Governor Rick Abbot’s desk. The bill would mandate that county jails divert people with mental health and substance abuse issues toward treatment, make it easier for defendants with a mental illness or intellectual disability to receive a personal bond, require that independent law enforcement agencies investigate jail deaths, install automated electronic sensors or cameras to ensure timely in-person cell checks, and more.

According to the Senate Bill, the Sandra Bland Act aims to improve and correct the Texas criminal justice system to make it better for all people and to prevent future tragedies like Sandra Bland’s.

Sandra Bland was found dead in her jail cell three days after being arrested during a traffic stop. Reports claim that Bland did not have an accurate jail check. She interacted with a guard shortly after 7 a.m., but no one came back to check on her that same day until 8:55 a.m. Jail Standards require that there should be a visual, face-to-face observation of all inmates by jailers no less than once every 60 minutes.

“The Sandra Bland Act will most definitely help law enforcement secure inmate safety while mitigating liability for the jail and/or prison” said Ray Dunn, Chief Executive Officer of Guardian Security Solutions. “Our company received calls from sheriffs prior to this bill asking to purchase Guard Patrol devices and vandal-proof cameras which will help improve their cell checks, so it is no surprise that this bill was formed.”

The Sandra Bland Act will go into effect September 1, 2017 with the exception of Section 4.03 which will take effect January 1, 2018

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