Ward said whether new prisons made it into the budget was a mystery even to "leaders in charge" of the issue, which jibes with what I'd heard - House opponents of new prisons on the conference committee were kept out of the loop and were surprised to discover prisons were approved without a formal vote by conferees.
Building the new prisons will come with strings. Prison population numbers will have to exceed targets, and they can be built only with the approval of legislative leaders and the Legislative Budget Board.
Other CJ budget details just confirmed:
The budget will include funding for around 9,000 new slots — both lockup and treatment beds — as part of more than $206 million in additional funding. That’s the largest boost since the early 1990s, when the state was building prisons fast and furious and took a later-aborted shot at opening more than a dozen drug-treatment units.
Among those new beds will be around 1,400 in Intermediate Sanction Facilities for parole violators, 1,900 in state jail treatment programs, 1,500 each in specialized drug-treatment programs such as the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment units and the In-Prison Therapeutic Programs, 800 in community-based residential treatment for parolees, 500 in special units for convicted drunk drivers and 300 in halfway houses.
In addition, the budget will include an additional $13 million for local probation programs and $10 million more for mental-health diversion programs.
Those details confirmed by House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, and Senate leaders.
More on this after the budget itself is made public, probably sometime today - then we can all stop guessing and see what they actually came up with.