Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Drug courts, stronger probation clears Texas House

Two important probation strengthening bills by House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden cleared the Texas House this week - HB 530 expanding use of drug courts (discussed here and here), and HB 1678 strengthening community supervision and reducing probation officer caseloads (discussed here).

The drug court bill passed unanimously, and only seven members opposed Madden's probation bill, which had much more opposition in 2005. Congrats to Chairman Madden and supporters of stronger probation. Here's hoping these bills are similarly well received in the Senate.

The next key probation bill up on the House floor will likely be HB 3200, described here, which passed out of committee and is awaiting a a floor vote. That legislation adjusts funding incentives for probation departments to encourage offenders to earn their way off supervision through good behavior. Another important progressive sanctions bill, SB 1909 by Ellis/Madden, described here, is scheduled for a hearing in the Corrections Committee on Monday.

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