the economic crisis forced states to reconsider who they put behind bars and how long they kept them there, said Kim English, research director for the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.In Texas, parole rates were once among the lowest in the nation, with as few as 15 percent of inmates being granted release as recently as five years ago. Now, the parole rate is more than 30 percent after Texas began identifying low-risk candidates for parole.
I don't recall Texas' parole rates ever being at 15% anytime in recent memory. There has been an increase, but it's much more modest - from about 27% several years ago to 30-31% today. But when you've got 160,000 prisoners and release 75,000 per year, that 4% bump is enough to make a big difference b/c our prison system is right at capacity.Also, Texas' rising parole rate isn't really a money-driven decision, at least not directly. Instead, the parole board for years had refused to release DWI and drug offenders who'd not received treatment while incarcerated. In 2007 and 2009 the Texas Lege invested significantly in treatment programs in and out of prison (to avoid even more expensive new prison building), and now that those resources are available the parole board has been releasing those sorts of petty offenders at higher rates.
2004: 30.37%2005: 27.50%2006: 26.26%2007: 29.82%2008: 30.74%