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In Travis’ cite and release program, 40% of suspects are no-shows

By Tony Plohetski - American-Statesman Staff

Four years ago, several law enforcement agencies throughout Travis County, including the Austin Police Department, decided to stop arresting offenders for relatively minor crimes such as shoplifting and low-quantity drug possession. Instead, those suspects get a ticket with a date to show up in court.

Such “cite and release” programs — made possible by the Legislature’s 2007 change to state misdemeanor laws — were meant to ease crowding at county jails and free officers from the hours it can take to transport and book a suspect, allowing them to focus on more serious crime.

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