Friday, June 15, 2007

Line item vetoes axe contract bed money, study of juvenile detention

The Governor's line item vetoes in the Texas budget came out today, reports Quorum Report. See Perry's press release (doc). The good news is that he supported the "smart on crime" investments in stronger probation, parole, drug treatment and other measures to reduce recidivism.

Perhaps the most interesting news: He line item vetoed ALL of the money for TDCJ to pay for contract beds for 2009--specifically because he expects, as we all do, that the new approach to crime and punishment will reduce the need for beds and TDCJ's costs. Here's the portion of the press release related to criminal justice:

Article V – Public Safety and Criminal Justice

Texas Department of Criminal Justice 2008 2009

C.1.10. Contracted Temporary Capacity $36,840,120 $29,249,240

Texas Department of Criminal Justice 2008 2009

F.1.6. Other Support Services $5,459,155 $5,459,154

These vetoes delete the fiscal year 2009 appropriation for Contracted Temporary Capacity and the appropriations for Other Support Services at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). The amount of general revenue funds appropriated to TDCJ grew by almost 10 percent from the 2006-2007 biennium. Much of this substantial increase will support probation, parole, and substance abuse treatment. To the extent this funding reaches our non-violent offenders and reduces recidivism, I support it because it will reduce the future prison population. Yet, I cannot ignore the fact that, during the biennium, the average number of incarcerated offenders is only expected to grow by 2 percent and the average number of offenders under active parole supervision or adult probation is only expected to grow by 5 percent. In that context, a 10 percent increase is unreasonable and is reduced by this veto.

Texas Commission on Jail Standards 2008 2009

A.1.2. Juvenile Justice Survey $40,000 $40,000

This veto eliminates the funding for the Juvenile Justice Survey conducted by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS). I asked the legislature to remove this strategy from the TCJS, and I veto this appropriation because funding from the Governor’s Office Criminal Justice Division should not be an entitlement in the budget.

I do wonder about one thing: If in the near future there are problems at a county juvenile facility similar to what we saw at TYC, this $40K study will look like small potatoes and the Governor won't look good for its rejection. Doesn't that seem like an unnecessary risk? The study of juvie facilities seems like an odd place, given recent events, to decide to stand on small government principles.

Perry's bill vetoes will be announced by Sunday.


Anonymous said...

If I'm reading the Governor's press release correctly, he's going to let most of the new probation laws go into effect but he has vetoed the all-important funding revision that went along with them. That means that the CSCDs will be losing many probationers to "early release" without providing anything to make up for the funding they will lose as a result of those releases. Expect cutbacks in existing and valuable CSCD programs to offset those losses.

Anonymous said...

I knew this Governor could not hold the meaness inside him long. He wants what the wants, TTT road, coal fired energy plants and all these items were not wanted by the people who pay his salary; thus the Legislators listened to us and not him, most of them, or should I say enough of them to stop the insanity and "decider" factor in this Governor.

Can we not impeach him? If so, that would be the thing to do, get rid of him. He does not care about us or what happens to those we love, only himself. He learned well from GWB and the true man is coming out and he stinks.

Impeach "Governor Goodhair" starting today!!!