Monday, February 20, 2012

Medical paroles plummeting while TDCJ-UTMB wrangle over healthcare costs

The Dallas News reports ("Fewer seriously ill Texas inmates being released on medical paroles," Feb. 20) that medical parole rates are at their lowest in years and that Texas' Board of Pardons and Paroles may approve fewer medical paroles in FY 2012 (they'll hit 33, at the current rate) than at any time in recent memory, despite TDCJ facing prison healthcare costs more than nine figures greater than the Legislature budgeted.:
Each of the past three fiscal years, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said its medical providers — the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Texas Tech — referred more cases for medical release. There were 1,318 referrals in 2009 and 1,807 cases in 2011.

Another government office, the Texas Correctional Office on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments, narrows that pool and presents cases to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles.

In fiscal year 2011, 349 cases were formally presented for medical release, and 100 cases, or 29 percent, won approval. The previous year, 22 percent were approved. Almost always, the parole board makes the decision. In a few state jail cases, the sentencing judge decides.

Each year, some inmates approved for release die before they can be freed or their cases are reconsidered.
So far this fiscal year, from September through December, the board has approved only 16 of the 125 cases presented, or 13 percent.

The Legislative Budget Board, which monitors state spending, told lawmakers in January 2011 that expediting the release of inmates who need high-cost medical care could save the state an average of $10,545 per year per inmate. The board noted that inmates are not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid while in prison, so the state pays the full cost of care.
Strange and troublesome - from the perspective of reducing prison medical costs - that in 2011, doctors recommended more than 1,800 people for medical release, but only 349 were presented to the board, which approved less than a third of those. Most inmates/patients recommended by their doctors for medical parole are getting screened out by TDCJ parole staff (according to some criteria not described in the article) before the board ever hears about them.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles, of course, is functionally separate from TDCJ, but historically they have acted somewhat in tandem, particularly back when Rissie Owens' husband, Ed, ran TDCJ's institutional division. So it's a bit of a surprise that the parole board isn't doing more to help TDCJ out on the health-cost question, though of course they're under no obligation to do so.

Grits recognizes the board has discretion, but they should at least consider all the recommendations doctors send them. TDCJ is seriously over-budget on health care, with its major provider (UTMB) at this point outright rebelling, so paroling some of the sickest, most expensive inmates could help relieve pressure. I'd have expected to see them considering and approving more medical paroles in 2012 given the current funding situation. As it turns out, it's been substantially less.


The Homeless Cowboy said...

Well here we go back to the 60's and 70's when inmate life or death didn't mean much either way. Next thing they will be hiring Beartrack McAdam's grand kids. I remember going to the prison hospital at the Walls in 1972 and seeing the men who were patients and I thought "Why are these guys in prison, they certainly wont be robbing or killing anyone for the rest of thier lives." They were so pathetically ill and just lying there in the heat (No A/C)sweating and stinking, Even the most hardened criminal hater would have felt a pang of remorse over their situation. But TDC would pretty everything up before letting bigwigs or the public see them. TDC or TDCJ has not progressed into the future at the rate of the rest of society. But of course thier way has worked for them for a long long time and you nor I will be able to make a dent in how they operate.Medical situations are still run through the "Good Ole Boy" network and still handled in the same manner. The best of luck to those who wish to change Texas prisons. I don't see it happening much.

Anonymous said...

The medical situation in prisons is a cluster fruck. However, if you don't like it, don't break the law.

Crain Watcher said...

The medical situation is mess up in prison, but that does not give the guards the right to past STD'S to the prisoners, then brutely punish the prisoners and let the guards go free. A women almost died on Valetines Day because exchanging laundry was more important than calling medical. Hospital Galveston refused to do a procedure on this woman, even though people come on here and say inmates get every procedure under the sun done for them in prison. The Crain Unit is no better than a Concentration Camp.

Anonymous said...

These wemon should be used for morale purposes for the guards. Its a employment booster. Hey, mess the results. These weomom have been around anyway.

sunray's wench said...

10.40 ~ another great advert for the mental state of Texas. You really did your fellow Texan's proud there.

I'm starting to see why Texas doesn't have a personal income tax. If it did, then people would be more curious as to where their money was going.

Gritsforbreakfast said...


I just deleted two comments here, one for personal attacks on a state worker by name who wasn't mentioned in the post, and another offering a recurring critique of "fat bitches" at a certain office. I almost deleted the one at 10:40 but decided the writer discredits him or herself more than slandering anyone else.

Stay on topic, please. Crain folks, you too.

The Management

Anonymous said...

Why do you delete the truth?

Crain Watcher said...

Sunray, Not all of us Texan's think this way, but so many do including our elected leaders. This is probably one of the prison guards or one of the people running the unit. They are not experts by no means. They produce fake on-line college degress and are not even ask for a high school diploma. If you ever go to visitation, all one has to do is have their eyes and ears open and you can see the employees are by far worst than the inmates. No one leaves the Crain Unit better off, only bitter by the torment they receive daily from their old slave plantation masters.

Crain Watcher said...

Oh-I left out this is the biggest bunch of liars one would ever meet in your life.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

The gatesvile units make the rest of tdcj appear as though it deserves a humanitarian award.

The anonymous inbred piece of shit 10:40 is right on about how those deliverance hillbilly’s feel about the ladies locked up down there. The gatesvile area is a place where the generational curse is very strong due to those backwoods hillbilly’s and their hog farmer ancestors abusing women and children for over 100 years. The reason this ass clown post anonymously is because they are a punk and would shake in there state welfare clothes if they ever came face to face in the free world with anyone who has ever had to endure spending time in that place. The gatesvile is a place where generations of inbred pusillanimous hillbilly’s have sucked the state teat abusing women and children for over 100 years.

Coryell, the emasculated county of Texas. May kitchens rot in hell that piece of shit child abuser? He’s real brave with a beat down 15 year old kid in hand cuffs.

Anonymous said...

The rough and tough cowboys need to ante up or shut up. You wanted them---you got them---so now you pay for them.

Let Texas pay for these guys and NOT Medicare or Medicaid!

Pay for your thrills Texas.

Jim Harrison

Anonymous said...

Thanks right Texas, pay for your John Wayne swagger and not a peep about the cons costing you too much. Try to "take it" like a real man-HA HA.


Anonymous said...

Just found out tdcj is taking away inmates commissary to only one time every two weeks when it was every week..who wants that after all there is roaches found in the food served there