Texas: Why We Oppose HB 20

As Texas House Bill 20 heads for a floor vote today, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has urgently written to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dade Phelan, and other state representatives to express our concern over the troubling bail legislation.

HB 20 would mandate the use of pretrial risk assessment tools, fundamentally flawed algorithms used to predict the likelihood that an individual will be arrested again or fail to appear in court if released into the community while awaiting trial. Although these tools are often marketed as offering an “objective” and “evidence-based” way for judges to make decisions, they have been proven to reify racism in the criminal legal system, funneling more Black, Brown, and low-income people into Texas’ overcrowded jails.

If passed, HB 20 would further cement a vicious cycle of mass incarceration and poverty, where the right to liberty and the presumption of innocence are available only to those who can afford their freedom. Stand with us as we urge Texas representatives to vote no on HB 20.