First, it should be mentioned that Texas has among the lowest recidivism rates of any prison system, certainly among large states, in the United States. "Offenders released from prison in fiscal year 2011 had a rearrest rate of 46.5 percent, and a reincarceration rate of 21.4 percent within a three-year period," according to the report. Since in Texas one can be arrested for anything including Class C misdemeanors punishable only be fines, not jail time, many of those arrests are for petty stuff that may not really concern us from a safety perspective. Even so, that's a remarkably low rate; nationally, the rearrest rate is 67.8 percent. And our re-incarceration rate is also lower than the national average (55 percent within 5 years). Texas is one of a number of states where recidivism rates have been falling.
We've discussed before on Grits the reasons why, and it's not because we're doing such a great job of rehabilitating prisoners. Texas has the largest prison population among American states - greater even than California's whose civilian population is nearly half-again ours - and the reason is that we incarcerate more low-risk offenders who could be safely released than do other corrections systems where more rigorous cost-benefit analyses are applied to government activities.
Among some of the good news in the report was the decline in parole revocations for technical violations, which is due mainly to 1) Texas' 2007 reforms, including the creation of intermediate sanctions facilities, and 2) the changing makeup of and decisions by the parole board to reduce incarceration modestly. "In 2006, the Board of Pardons and Paroles revoked over ten thousand offenders. In fiscal year 2015, that number was reduced to about 5500." By contrast, revocations for technical violations on the probation side remain high - about half of all probation revocations.