Lina Hidalgo knows the value of growing up in a safe place. Since she immigrated to the United States, she has had the fortune of living in neighborhoods where crime was not a daily presence. But she knows too many people live in neighborhoods where they feel just as unsafe as her family felt in Colombia during the drug war.
DA Ogg, Sheriff Gonzalez, and Commissioner Ellis have already started bringing profound positive change to criminal justice in Harris County, but there is a long way to go. Our Juvenile Detention center, for one, is at 150% capacity and reveals blatant racial and ethnic disparities. We need another person in County leadership to support their work. Change can’t come fast enough for communities that are being left out of the opportunities Harris County has to offer.
As a criminal justice researcher at Harvard, Lina studied the effects of incarceration on children. As Harris County Judge, she will work to promote the smartest and most effective practices for holding kids accountable while promoting their growth and reintegration. Through her criminal justice work, she has seen the importance of strong indigent representation. She will promote a data-driven system to ensure everyone before the court has access to quality representation. Given the huge investment the County makes on criminal justice, one of Lina’s priorities will be to focus on investing funds more effectively. She will promote options that are smart on crime and reduce recidivism while promoting reintegration and saving us money. Lina stands against continuing to fund the County’s defense of discriminatory bail practices through a lawsuit that is wasting millions of County dollars. It is a disservice to our children and communities, who would benefit from that money being reinvested.