Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tracking Texas' budget

Will Texas prison guards get their 20% raise? Will the Youth Commission get permission to spend bond money on multiple small facilities, or only one big one? Will Texas continue to fund diversion programs or leave local probation departments to fend for themselves?

As in all public policy matters, some of the most important questions about crime and punishment get answered not in court but during the legislative budget writing process. In Texas, thankfully, these procedures are relatively transparent compared to a lot of other states. Travis Fell at Voice in the Wilderness has a great synopsis of what Legislature-watchers need to know about the Texas budget process, including links to key primary sources.

A small addendum: For the topics covered on this blog, it's worth following the actions of the House Appropriations subcommittee on criminal justice, while in the Senate the full Finance Committee typically involves itself in criminal justice appropriations. Also, several of the criminal justice-related agencies are presently up for Sunset review - see here for documents related to that process, which could significantly affect those agencies' structures and funding needs.

7 comments:

WFB said...

We could get some real market-driven reform if we could figure out a way to link each judge's budget with the jail and prison expense of people incarcerated by the court.

Anonymous said...

Actually I think that an accounting review might do it. Show the amount being wasted on first time offenses, and non-dangerous offenses..

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is: We can't afford this. We can't afford to lock everyone up, we can't afford open borders, we can't afford the Drug War. Or we can't afford the rest of it, like education, et, et.

Anonymous said...

Properly fund probation departments so that they can keep seasoned community supervision officers. Departments currently have low morale, low payscales, and high caseloads and turnover which leads to more revocation requests. I GUARANTEE you that better paid seasoned CSO's with MANAGEABLE sized caseloads would reduce the number of CSO recommendations for revocation and prison time. I know CJAD doesn't care to hear this but what do they know anyway? CSO with 20+ years experience watching other CSO's quitting daily!!!!! I'm TIRED....

Josef Mengele said...

Tough times call for creative solutions.

Maybe offer early release to any offender willing to "donate" a kidney to TDCJ and then sell the organs to help pay the cost.

Also we could make "good time" dependant on weekly blood serum donations... same for trustees in county jail.

Put on your thinking cap and imagine a final solution!

-Josef Mengele




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/nazi jokes are funny

San Antonio Lawyer said...

Yeah an account review might be the best move i guess.

JCO said...

We're all very eager to find out if TYC JCO's get a 20% raise as well.