Texas puts COVID relief money toward police and prisons
Texas is directing tens of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money toward law enforcement — a shift from initial pledges to address affordability of health care in the wake of the pandemic.
State of play: The American Rescue Plan Act put $1.9 trillion toward cities nationwide as an unprecedented opportunity to make creative, meaningful and lasting investments.
- Some $52.6 billion went to projects that mentioned police, law enforcement, courts, jails and prisons, according to a new Marshall Project report.
Zoom in: In Texas, millions were earmarked for jail renovations, updates to police buildings and revenue replacement to cover staffing.
- Bedford submitted a report to the Treasury Department to use more than $800,000 to upgrade its law enforcement center with improved secure storage for ballistic vests, patrol rifles and charging stations for body-worn cameras.
- In Harris County, commissioners approved $25 million in ARPA funds to transfer incarcerated people eight hours away to a private prison.
What they're saying: At the national level, President Joe Biden is embracing the law enforcement spending and using it as evidence that Democrats don't want to defund the police.
Yes, but: A lot of relief funds locally are going toward non-policing efforts.
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