the William P. Clements Jr. Unit outside Amarillo and two other units begin serving as release points for inmates who have served their terms.
The other two designated release centers are in Abilene and Beeville. Clements will begin releasing inmates Wednesday.
This'll save on transportation costs, but the legislation authorizing the move would also have let TDCJ release inmates directly from the facility where they served their time, which would have generated even greater savings. The majority of Texas inmates are already released that way each year, reports the Globe-News: "Of the 72,218 people released last year, 32,600 were released in Huntsville. Of those not released in Huntsville, many were freed through drug treatment centers or other diversionary programs."
If TDCJ is providing significant additional reentry assistance at regional release centers, that would be one thing. But if they're just replicating what's already done in Huntsville then the agency may still be leaving money on the table by not releasing inmates where they're housed.
Not all prisoners will be eligible for regional release: "Those who suffer from serious mental or medical conditions, are sex offenders or anyone deemed a security threat such as gang members will continue to be released in Huntsville."