A presentation by the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition in April contained these topline tidbits:
- Total TDCJ releases in 2009 (Prison, State Jail, SAFP) = 72,218
- Of those released, 32,705 are on a flat discharge and not under supervision
- 54.1% of individuals currently incarcerated have a sentence of 10 years or less
These data belie a "lock 'em up" mentality since in practice most offenders get out eventually. Often when inmates are forced to serve their full sentence, they leave prison completely unsupervised. Especially for more serious offenders, it probably makes sense to release prisoners before they've completely served out their sentences so there will be supervision and reentry assistance during the period when statistically they're most likely to re-offend. Granting parole for inmates with long sentences when they have even a year or so to go (so the offender spends at least one year under supervision when they get out) would likely help both reduce recidivism among parolees and lower inmate populations at the margins.