Wednesday, January 10, 2007

More details on the Madden-Whitmire probation plan

Details on Jerry Madden and John Whitmire's probation overhaul continue to trickle out, though no bill has yet been filed. This afternoon Mike Ward (who's doing a good job covering the story) posted another update on the Austin Statesman website ("New figures show way to ease overcrowding without building new prisons," Jan 10):

A copy of the new projections was obtained this morning by the Austin American-Statesman and

According to the new projections, a total of 9,500 so-called "diversion" beds would be added to the current corrections system — in programs such as drug treatment centers, special lockups to hold parole and probation violators for short periods, new counseling centers for parolees and halfway houses.

Those additional beds could divert 5,933 criminals each year, at a cost of $142.9 million over a two-year period. The number of beds is higher than the prisoners diverted because not all of the prisoners will be successful in treatment and some will be sent back to prison.

At a time when the state budget is expected to be tight, because of promised property tax rollbacks and ballooning costs in health care programs, among other things, how to address the growing prison population is a top issue for legislative leaders. The newly released projections are expected to figure heavily into legislative hearings expected to begin soon on Texas' criminal justice programs.


Anonymous said...

Would you consider paying Bexar County Probation Officers what they are worth. You can have all the diversion programs in the world and they will be ineffective unless you pay refering officers well. Officers that are paid poor give poor results and create retention problems. Retenion creates a huge shortfall in an abilty to supervise cases.

Anonymous said...

Bexar County already has numerous diversions: SATF, DACTF, Zero Tolerance Facility, MIOF, etc., all started years ago. Until the senators start talking to those that actually do the grunt work, they will continue to waste time and money. They need to make probtion officers State OR County employees, revamp the funding for the CSCD's and probation opfficer pay, take the judges out of the probation politics and hold the Chief probation officers accountable, which to date they have not done. The system is broken, funding is a joke, ie. approximately $2.40 a day for probation and $44 a day for prison expenses. Now they want to reduce prisoners and NOT find an equitable way to fund probation. Senators, wake up, smell the coffee, stop blaming the Governor, and FIX the problem. Since 1982 I have observed many professional probation officers leave for more money, better working conditions and an entity that cares for it's employees.