Press Room

The Harris County Justice Administration Department (JAD) Launches RFP to conduct a Racial and Ethnic Disparity Study

HARRIS COUNTY– (December 17, 2020)

The Justice Administration Department (JAD) is now seeking proposals from qualifying organizations to conduct a racial and ethnic disparity study on the Harris County criminal justice system. The study will identify and track disparities at various stages of the criminal justice process from patrol to case disposition, identify the root causes of those disparities, and provide evidence-based recommendations and/or promising practices to remedy the identified disparities.

“In Harris County, a black person is almost five times as likely as a white person to be incarcerated. But contact with the criminal legal system starts far earlier—through fines, patrol stops, charging decisions, and other practices. We must identify the disparities throughout the system that are impacting communities of color,” said Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Precinct 1. “By measuring, publicizing, and getting to the root causes of these disparities, we can advance solutions that will reimagine our criminal legal system to truly serve justice for all.”

The completion of the Disparity Study will inform future efforts to make our criminal justice system more equitable and increase public safety.

“Currently, the numbers don’t truly reflect the impact that policies are having on black and brown communities, either as victims or offenders. We need to know the extent to which racial and ethnic disparities exist in our Criminal Justice system. Without accurate data, we cannot advance solutions that will produce equity. This work can lead to safer communities of color. I strongly believe the Criminal Justice system should embrace best practices that create safer communities throughout Harris County,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Harris County Precinct 2.

Racial and Ethnic Equity: Administered by JAD, this body of work supports our efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system and increase equity furthering; Harris County’s participation in the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety + Justice Challenge (SJC).

The Disparity Study will consist of two phases of work: an initial focus on key decision point analysis and a subsequent phase focused on root cause analysis of any existing disparities.
The request for proposal can be located on the Harris County Purchasing Department’s website as a Current Bid in the Buyspeed system. To learn more about the Racial and Ethnic Disparity Study RFP, please send all questions directly to Sandra Melancon, Office of the Purchasing Agent, via email to

Application process: Harris County Purchasing will be hosting an optional pre-proposal meeting on January 5, at 11AM. The deadline for submission of questions relating to this RFP is January 8, 2021, no later than 12:00pm CST. Proposals are due January 25, 2021, and applicants will be notified by March 2021 regarding whether they have been awarded. To learn more, visit Harris County Purchasing. Click on BuySpeed and register.

About Racial and Ethnic Equity Committee: The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) recently approved the plan to reinstate the Racial and Ethnic Equity Committee, formally named the Racial and Ethnic Disparity Committee (RED). The new structure will consist of a 17-member Committee partially composed of 13- community representatives. The remaining four vacancies are filled by representatives from the Justice Administration Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Department, and Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.

The Committee will aim to support community-led initiatives that: 1) provide education and transparency about the criminal justice system, 2) create interventions that mitigate disparities, 3) increase public safety.

About the Justice Administration Department: The Justice Administration Department (JAD) was created by the Commissioners Court to act as a resource for all County Criminal and Juvenile Justice Agencies. The Department coordinates amongst stakeholders and provides the members of Commissioners Court, County Criminal and Youth Justice leaders policy research, data analysis, and solutions meant to increase public safety, fairness, equity, efficiency, and accountability throughout the Harris County justice system. For more information visit