By Kirsten Bokenkamp Senior Communications Strategist Imagine you have finally served your time behind bars and are soon to be released. You are excited to regain your freedom and get back to life on the outside. Most likely, you are also anxious about what comes next, especially if you are released late at night, when it is pitch dark. Especially if you don’t have shoes or a cell phone, and there’s nobody to pick you up now that you’ve been released. You walk out of the county jail onto sometimes dangerous city streets disoriented, tired, vulnerable, and not sure where to go next. Welcome back to society. This is what it is like at a lot of prisons and jails across Texas. In the movies, ex-inmates seem to always be released during the daytime hours – but that is not the case in reality. Instead, there are stories of men circling the block in their cars and offering free rides to women being discharged – but that weren’t so free, and upon nighttime release, some former inmates have been killed, sexually abused, or threatened. A bill failed during the last legislative session that would have mandated inmates be discharged only during daylight hours. Opponents claimed mandating daytime release would be too hard to manage and overburden certain shifts. It is ludicrous to put the convenience of scheduling over the safety of those in custody and we agree with Diana Claitor of the Texas Jail Project, who says that jails can find ways to make daylight release work. In fact, Harris County Jail, one of the largest facilities in Texas, has done just that – the facility releases inmates only during daylight hours. The ACLU of Texas applauds them for considering the safety of the people released. We urge all facilities across Texas to follow Harris County Jail’s lead.