Harris County Will Reopen Parts Of Criminal Justice Center To Speed Up


first_imgPu Ying Huang for The Texas TribuneParts of Harris County’s Criminal Justice Center, which is located in downtown Houston and was severely damaged last year because of Hurricane Harvey, will reopen next month in an effort to reduce jail crowding and speed up the judicial process.Harris County Judge Ed Emmett announced Friday that parts of the Criminal Justice Center, which is located in downtown Houston and is the county’s primary criminal courthouse, will reopen next month in an effort to reduce jail crowding and speed up the judicial process.According to a news release from Emmett’s office, four floors of the courthouse, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Harvey last year, will be reopened on June 4 for jail dockets. The dockets include initial appearances and pending jail cases.Emmett said the county would reopen 14 courtrooms on the 17th-20th floors of the building – 12 for felonies and two for misdemeanors. There will be no trials at the building until more repairs are completed.“County taxpayers have been spending nearly $20,000 a day to send hundreds of jail inmates to other locations because damage from Hurricane Harvey left us unable to operate our courts as usual,” said Emmett. “By reopening these courtrooms early, we are able to save money and, just as importantly, ensure that our courts can do their jobs more quickly and efficiently.”Repairs on the courthouse could cost at least $70 million and likely will not be finished until next year, according to the news release.The reopening of the 14 courtrooms is expected to reduce congestion at the neighboring Civil Justice Center by an estimated 50 percent and boost the processing of in-custody criminal defendants by 20 percent. Sharelast_img