- FY 2012-2013 Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) (brief two-page synopsis of major budget issues)
- Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget and Fiscal Years 2012-2013 Legislative Appropriations Request (summary with additional detail)
These frankly aren't serious proposals. Indeed, nearly every cut proposed by the agency - to probation, to parole, to treatment, to mental health - seems targeted not to best serve the public interest but to maximize the future inflow of prisoners to ensure that all 112 Texas prison units remain full, no matter what. This is classic bureaucratic self-interest at work from an agency that perceives itself first and foremost as a prison operator and thinks of community supervision as frills. Likely TDCJ officials are hoping against hope that Sen. Whitmire will prevail in his effort to have criminal justice agencies exempted from budget cuts.
In any event, this LAR confirms my fears that TDCJ will never go along willingly with shuttering any prison unit, even ones like the Central Unit in Sugarland which are inappropriately located and rife with security problems. As I've editorialized repeatedly, legislators will have to do the fine cutting themselves. It's possible to identify cuts and policy changes that would allow TDCJ to safely close 4-6 prison units while retaining or even expanding community supervision and diversion programming. Getting to 10% or 15% becomes more difficult, but cutting 5% shouldn't be remotely as hard as TDCJ's LAR makes it out to be.