Monday, March 02, 2009

Good bills backed by Texas Criminal Justice Coalition

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition has posted online a list of good criminal justice bills they're supporting this session, from innocence, to reentry, probation, parole, and drug policy reform. At the end of their three-page list, TCJC added this teaser:
Coming soon: Identification bill for returning offenders, to be authored by Rep. Turner

- DPS should comply with the 2005 legislation and accept TDCJ-issued offender identification cards as a “verifiable” proof of identity.
That's a much needed change that jibes nicely with Rep. Turner's HB 1711, which according to TCJC, "Establishes a re-entry and re-integration plan in which individuals released from prison are provided with identification papers, medical prescriptions, job training certificates, housing and structured programs, and referrals to services."

See the rest of the list for other good bills TCJC is supporting.

13 comments:

TxBluesMan said...

Actually, you could go to the TMPA or CLEAT sites for better lists...

Anonymous said...

Sorry Grits, but I ain't biting. For every one of these good bills there are two that enact punishment on persons that have completed their sentence, or will be mandated to joined the registry club for Sex Offenders, Drunk Drivers, and spouce beaters for life. This is all smoke and mirrors and we will see shortly how far these 'good' bills go when our wonderful Brown shirts march into their seats and conform to John Walsh, MADD, and various anti-men groups running the government.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, my definition of "good bills" and CLEAT's doesn't always coincide.

To 8:47, cynicism accomplishes nothing, and assuming failure guarantees it.

sunray's wench said...

If the 2005 Session already passed a law to make the DPS accept TDCJ ID, why is it taking another bill to make them comply? If these bills have no teeth, what is the point of having the Sessions?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Sunray, I'll be looking forward to hearing DPS' answer to that question when the bill comes up!

Bottom line: The ship of state is large and takes a long time to turn. Witness needle exchange, where they approved a pilot in San Antonio in 2007 but it never happened because the DA said she'd prosecute participants. Now needle exchange is back up again in a way that circumvents her objections.

That's essentially what's happening on IDs with DPS. They passed something with no teeth encouraging it to happen, DPS balked, and now Turner apparently will try to force the issue over their (inexplicable) objections.

This is why incremental reform takes many, many years. On the bright side, they often aren't any more effective at implementing the bad bills, either!

TxBluesMan said...

Grits,

I'm disappointed... I expected a more 'pithy' answer...

There are several bills that I can agree with, but several that I have issue with, just as I am sure you have issue with several TMPA/CLEAT bills.

Anonymous said...

"To 8:47, cynicism accomplishes nothing, and assuming failure guarantees it."

Sorry Grits. I have been living under these laws, more and more every year, it is difficult to see anything that would benefit those that have completed a sentence without conviction. One momentary lapse of an other wise lawful life has landed me into something that I will never be able to outlive. It affects my wife, children, and it shames me each and everyday. I hope that you can understand where my critical ideals of our elected bodies comes from, they get re-elected by making the public feel good.

Anonymous said...

How can good time be given back when good time nor work time serve any purpose. Both are signed back to the State upon release.

The bill is poorly written and should be re-written to state "Goodtime and Worktime awarded to a person in a Correction Institution when equals the time given for the conviction equals this time, a person is released and allowed freedom.

What good does giving back good time lost due to a case given while in prison do anyone when in fact the good time as written is now worthless?

Anyone have any answers? The Inmates are "screwed" not especially literally, but from the time they are committed to a TDCJ institution, good time and work time mean nothing and do nothing to give anyone the incentive to what to better their behavior.

Would not rehabilitation and job training not work better with actual good time and work time?

sunray's wench said...

anon @ 5.376 ~ and that's if they manage to accrue any goodtime in the first place. Those with aggravated sentences dont get any at all.

jayfor JUSTICE said...

I agree with Anonymous. Of the bills to watch, it's Dutton's bill, HB293 relating to automatic expunction (expungement?) of records for persons acquitted, pardoned or with reversed charges. It is in a category all by itself. The other bills relating to licenses and certifications for persons released, commissions and policy impact statements are of little help. The license bill (HB 70) is akin to sexual offender identification and, similarly, could promote continuing stigma, rather than employment and community success. Alas, it's these bills that have the best opportunity for passage.

Anonymous said...

DPS in Dallas has some of the rudest working people in the state. They will not even recognize the TDCJ offender ID as a form of identification. Good luck trying to get them to help ex-cons..

sunray's wench said...

anon @ 12.38 ~ there is a proposed bill that addresses that subject too (cant remember the number right now but look it up on the Lege web site). Contact the committee members and urge them to vote in favour!

Anonymous said...

Major reform of state licensures, commissions,..ala this expungememt based on "actual innocense"...that's ridiculous!!!ban the box,..or let that be the last thing to acknowledge on an employment app....it just crazy...how you could be qualified for employment,..but turned down because of a mere misdemeanor conviction....c