Friday, March 21, 2008

Drug offenders dominate new prisoners from probation revocation

What types of offenders are being revoked from probation to Texas prisons? I took this data from a fact sheet created by TDCJ-CJAD discussing research on the impact of probation revocations, both for technical violations and for new offenses, on Texas' prison population:

Perhaps the most critical stat here: 37% of all probationers revoked to prison in Texas in 2006 were sentenced for a drug offense, more than any other category of offender. Also notable, if unsurprising, are the low numbers of DWI and sex offenders receiving early probation termination compared to other categories.

The fact sheet also broke out data on offenders revoked for probation violations as opposed to a new offense, concluding that 32% of offenders revoked as "technical violators" had been arrested (but not charged) during the 12 months prior to their probation revocation.

The data on arrests and technical violators adds some meat on the bone to TDCJ boardmember and Gillespie County's appellate lawyer Greg Coleman's astonishing assertion this week before SCOTUS that half of arrests don't result in charges, though I still find it hard to fathom the number could be that high.


Anonymous said...

DWI's cannot early term? To early term a sex offense is political suicide- give that one up.

Do you have an over all number of the technical revocations before the cscd's got the funds and one after.
I have to admit Madden and Whitmire may be on to something.
I have learned the closer you watch the probationers the more they behave. I have worked for strict Judges who send every one who blinks to TDC and have worked for Judges who will never revoke at all. By a long shot the mean strict Judge has less revocations but only after his rep was established on the street.

Anonymous said...

So to make it easier to understand: if you parole someone who is serving a sentence for drug related activity, they are far more likely to continue with some kind of anti-social behaviour and end up back in prison, than if you parole a SO or someone serving a sentence for a violent crime.

Why is this so hard for people to accept?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:50 - I do think Whitmire and Madden are on to something. And to add to your observations, what they're trying to do is give the "mean strict judges" additional tools and progressive sanctions (like the new treatment facilities) instead of sending them to TDC on the first violation. Decreasing caseloads and increasing supervision will actually increase revocations unless departments simultaneously implement a progressive sanctions regimen to give the judge and PO some alternatives.

Anonymous said...

Gov. Ann Richards (RIP), would take exception to your statement concerning "new drug treatment programs". She initiated a great program with the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities(SAFP)and the In Prison Treatment Programs.

Whitmire,some of his peers, and TDCJ appointees bastardized the program before it was completely operational.

Retired 2004

Anonymous said...

Grits: I agree that smaller caseloads and increased supervision actually increases the number of violators caught violating their probation. It is also my experience that when CASD officers have caseloads of 100 to 150, their job turns into a paper pushing exercise focused on "reporting" - fine, restitution and probation fee collection. It's pretty much the way it is now, other than a few "lipstick" programs added here and there.


Anonymous said...

Where I live, it seems as though the judges generally do what the probation director recommends they do.I have been observing the probation department in my area for several years, and have concluded there is very little supervision,and it all about paying probation fees. Often times the PSI reports are not what they should be. I personally know several people on probation that continue to deal and use drugs yet never show for their probation appointments.Eventually the PO's will make a motion to revoke and just wait until that person gets picked up on another charge.Meanwhile it's just business as usual for the probationer/drug dealer.

Anonymous said...

If arrested means the person is booked at the jail I doubt that Mr. Coleman's statement is true. That would imply a dismissal rate of all charges about twelve times the rate we see at our jail.

OTOH if he is talking about persons who are cited and release it could be true. We have a lot of folks who fail to appear at magistrates court.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Retired, to be honest you'd have to give Whitmire as much credit as Richards. She wanted to go on a prison building spree to prove how "tuff," she was, and he made sure some treatment options got included. The problem was, the treatment part was never her priority nor anybody else's, never adequately funded, then virtually eliminated in the 2003 budget cuts (before partial reinstatement last year). Though I don't like to speak ill of the dead, personally, even during her Governorship, I was never an Ann Richards fan. At all.

JSN, Coleman didn't give enough specifics to tell, but the point he was making to SCOTUS was not about citations, but actual arrests that involve a defendant's liberty interest. If it turns out he was including citations in that, his argument to the court would have been misleading, disingenuous and far off point, so assuming he wasn't arguing completely in bad faith, I took him to mean arrests where the suspect went to jail (but no indictment was later brought).

I'm going to try to track that down next week. That's a weird statistic, and I'm not sure I believe it.

Anonymous said...

"Also notable, if unsurprising, are the low numbers of DWI and sex offenders receiving early probation termination compared to other categories."

Well, they are only notable in that any showed up at all, since by law, both types of offenses are INELIGIBLE for early termination. CCP Art. 42.12, Sec. 20(b). Makes you wonder if the numbers are right, and if so, how that is happening at all.

What I find interesting is the report's conclusion that "... the number of offenders revoked to prison for simply violating rules of supervision is not as high as official statistics report ...." In other words, most "technical" violators either absconded (i.e., quit probation on their own) or were arrested for a new offense, even if they were actually revoked for something else (a common occurrence in revocation hearings due to judicial economy).

Anonymous said...

So if someone on probation for a felony offense fails there drug tests for six months and commits new misdemeanor offense(s), i.e. assault, burglary of a motor vehicle, theft - we don't want the CSCD's to recommend a revocation of his/her probation? The new misdemeanor offenses wouldn't be filed because they are lower grade than the felony. You would just list them in the Motion to Revoke and statistically speaking they would be administrative violations. Statistics are what they are. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper for the truth. Madden and Whitmire may be on to a very few select judges but for the most part CSCDs and judges are fairly forgiving and work with offenders. Let's find some stats on offenders who were on probation who committed new offenses and then talk to the victims of these new offenses. Offender advocacy is alive and well in Texas but it seems victim advocacy is lacking. Reminds me of the time Madden stated that a kid went to TYC for simple assault. Not so simple when your the one being assaulted and I'm certain there was even more to the story. Just my thoughts. Thanks for the forum Grits!!

Anonymous said...

In regard to this post ""Also notable, if unsurprising, are the low numbers of DWI and sex offenders receiving early probation termination compared to other categories."

Well, they are only notable in that any showed up at all, since by law, both types of offenses are INELIGIBLE for early termination. CCP Art. 42.12, Sec. 20(b). Makes you wonder if the numbers are right, and if so, how that is happening at all."

I think the real question should be what offenses are being "classed" as sex offenses and exempt from early termination. Also it has been a while since I read those specific articles in CCP, but to my understanding it dosnt so much prevent judges from granting early termination for the said offenses, but rather allows the judge to deny early termination requests even though no real reason can be shown to continue supervision. In all other supervisions, the judge SHALL by CCP terminate supervision early if certain conditions of supervision have been met and the probationer shows no risk to society.

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