Texas bill would require body cameras for every prison guard in state
AUSTIN, Texas - State Rep. Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto) filed House Bill 1524, which would make body cameras, like what law enforcement officers wear, mandatory for the state's 20,000 prison guards.
"With body cameras it creates a different environment and protection for those who work inside of our prisons and as well as for those who are under their custody," said Rep. Sherman.
On Tuesday, the House Corrections Committee heard testimony about the proposal, which would require cameras for guards in both public and private prisons.
In all, the camera systems and necessary docking stations would cost the state about $54 million.
"Our organization supports HB1524 and believe body cameras can help make improvements to how TDCJ operates and keep staff and inmates safe," said Clifton Buchganon, the Deputy Director of the Texas Correctional Employees Council.
This past Spring, Gonzalo Lopez escaped from a Texas prison bus, killed five family members in Central Texas and was free for weeks before being killed by police.
A report found steps were skipped with Lopez, like a strip search and a weapons check with a handheld metal detector.
FOX 4's Shaun Rabb spoke with Sherman about his legislation.
State Rep. Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto)
"Having body cameras creates an open environment, transparency and accountability," said Rep. Sherman.
A dozen or so states have moved to having prison guards wearing body cameras since 2021.
"You think about what they've done in Ohio, they've been able to track and see that it has reduced violence within the prisons, so it makes the environment safer," Rep. Sherman said.
Sherman proposed similar legislation last session, but says this time around he has bipartisan support.
He plans to hold a news conference in Austin Thursday about the legislation and his backing from across the aisle.