Friday, March 23, 2007

House Corrections to tackle TYC and DWI courts

The agenda for Monday's Texas House Corrections committee meeting was scrapped and replaced with a new one that focuses on TYC, plus one bill from Rep. Hochberg related to drug courts.

T-Y-C ... Easy As 1-2-3
Madden's HB 427 will go back to committee to strip off Rep. Dunnam's floor amendment that generated such controversy. See the links for opinions of bloggers who watched it - I missed Wednesday's spectacle.

HB 3309 by Bolton would allow sexual assault victims groups to provide services to kids at TYC facilities. Personally I wish the committee would amend the bill to allow the same thing at facilities run by the Department of Corrections.

HB 3521 by Bolton (n.b., corrected from original) would disallow TYC from employing anyone convicted of a crime involving a child, no matter how long ago it occurred and empower the Attorney General to investigate abuse and neglect at TYC, creates an Inspector General to investigate and prosecute crimes, and establishes complaint process for the agency.

If there's GR for prisons, there's GR for drug courts
Finally we come to HB 1875 by Hochberg, an otherwise good bill which contains what I consider a single problematic element in its funding component. The bill allows for drunk driving courts and increases judicial discretion regarding probation requirements in drug courts. The one troublesome section: It also increases the fee on personal bonds (from 3% to 6% of bail amount) in counties with drug courts. That could boost local jail overcrowding, keeping more defendants in jail prior to trial for no other reason than that they are poor.

Personal bonds, where they are available, allow judges to release defendants from jail when they cannot pay the 10-20% fee usually charged by bail bondsmen. Even if someone can afford a surety bond, release on personal bond allows them to use money they would have spent on bail to hire an attorney, pay court costs, victim restitution, etc

And that's the full slate for Monday, unless something is added at the last minute. TYC has really come to dominate the 80th session on criminal justice, hasn't it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

TYC finally coming to the front is okay and needed to be done a very long time ago.

Now TDCJ needs to be cleaned out also. TDCJ is in far worse condition than TYC or just as bad shape as TYC. Does anyone but me think out Judicial System stinks?

People need to be given a second chance at life and to be able to make their lives and families proud.

Until some of the Judges and DA's who are only in their jobs to make themselves feel important and not to do a job they were voted to do, things will not change. A person is not guilty when they walk into a court of law, and no DA or Judge can make that a fact unless the person confesses. We have some of the worst DA's and Judges in Texas than any other State in the US. Selfish, greedy and some who think they are above the law. Some whose families have records but get hidden by another Judge who is a friend and the beat goes on.

Start at the top and clean out this mess that coninues to grow and stinks to high heaven. Make Texas proud and not hated. We have enough of that going on in Washington, but as Texans we could do the right thing by cleaning out TDCJ, county jails and some sheriffs and a lot of Judges and DA's.

How does a law enforcement agent sexually abuse a 15 year old girl since she was eight years old and get deferred adjuctication and a fine? Anyone else would have been sent to prison for this. Our laws stink!!!