The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission — composed of state lawmakers and public members who periodically review state agencies — recommended changes Wednesday to better coordinate and focus on programs for offenders' re-entry into society.
The first step toward a plan: Write it down.
Sunset commission staff reported that “no written plan exists” nearly three years after lawmakers approved legislation requiring a re-entry plan.
A steering committee convened by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which also includes parole and prison education officials, hasn't yet established clear timelines to create such a plan, staff wrote.
There also is no comprehensive assessment of offender risks and needs, according to the report.
It said case management is fragmented and information sharing is limited among the criminal justice agency, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Windham School District, which serves the criminal justice system.
Besides calling for a written plan, the commission recommended requiring a system-wide risk and needs assessment for offenders and an individual treatment plan. The recommendations will go to the Legislature, which convenes in regular session in January.