Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Budget Choices: TDCJ needs more money or fewer prisoners

More detail emerged yesterday on Texas' budget crisis and the implications for criminal justice policy. Reports the Austin Statesman ("Proposed budget shows $3.7 billion shortfall," Jan. 21):
Maintaining basic state services over the next two years will cost Texas almost $84 billion, $3.7 billion more in general revenue than the state expects to raise during that period, according to the Senate budget introduced Tuesday.
However, a proposed 20% pay hike for adult prison guards and parole officers didn't make it into the draft budgets, nor did security improvements aimed at reducing contraband flows:

Among the budget increases proposed for Texas' prison system were $22.2 million for pay raises for correctional and parole officers, and $10.4 million in bond funds to repair the Hurricane Ike-damaged prison hospital in Galveston.

The proposed pay raises were far less than the $453.4 million sought by prison officials, and the budget did not address the $176 million needed for cost increases this year and the $66 million sought for security upgrades.

It's not at all clear TDCJ could safely operate without a much larger portion of the increases they've requested because past agency decisions to underpay staff, skimp on healthcare and ignore needed security improvements have backed officials into a financial corner. TDCJ's cost per prisoner in recent years has been artificially low and cannot be sustained at current levels.

I've said before, given TDCJ's understaffing crisis (they're around 3,000 guards short of minimum staffing), perhaps it's now time to consider actually reducing the size of Texas' Prison Nation in order to stave off rising incarceration costs.

If you add up every Texan currently in prison, on probation, on parole, or sitting in a county jail, it totals slightly more than the number of residents living in Austin - about one out of every 21 adults. At more than 737,000 people, they would make up the fourth largest city in the state after Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Indeed, that's more than total 2004 populations of Washington, D.C. and four US states: Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

Can we really afford for the corrections system to supervise the equivalent of a major Texas city? According to TDCJ's official budget request, the agency needs around $1.2 billion extra over the next biennium to safely house the same number of prisoners it has now.

Other states facing budget crises are looking to reduce prison populations to save money, and if Lone Star legislators won't pony up enough to safely guard the 112 prison units TDCJ operates, Texas should do so, too. It wouldn't be that hard, since fully 2/3 of Texas prison inmates are parole eligible.

Alternatively, a bipartisan group of judges from Houston recently suggested another way to diminish new prison entries - reducing to a Class A misdemeanor charges against low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who possess less than a gram of a controlled substance. There are quite a few ways the Lege could skin that cat.

The Texas Legislature should at least ask the question: How many fewer prisoners would we have to have for the Department of Criminal Justice to a) live within its means and b) still provide adequate security and staffing?


Anonymous said...

Surprise, surprise. Well, good thing I didn't buy that new car after all.

Anonymous said...

They still don't get it:

"Alternatively, a bipartisan group of judges from Houston recently suggested another way to diminish new prison entries - reducing to a Class A misdemeanor charges against low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who possess less than a gram of a controlled substance. There are quite a few ways the Lege could skin that cat."

Trying to re-arrange the chairs of the deck of the Titanic would be about as efficacious. You want a reduced amount of people clogging courts? Return this country to the arrangement of 'personal responsibility' for drug usage (after all, it's the same for usage of the DRUG called 'alcohol') that this country had prior to 1914 and the first Fed drug laws. That means repealing just about all the present drug laws.

That will greatly reduce the amount of people in court. But the question is how many pols will develop the big, brown hairy uh, er, political testes necessary to brave the Prison/Industrial Complex's screeching minions.

One need only look at what happened in El Paso with their City Council not too long ago to see how an entrenched special interest can override the commonweal when a pol speaks the unspeakable and just asks for a just a debate on the subject; the poo-flinging howlers stopped gorging themselves at the public trough long enough to blast their invective (only 'pot-heads' want to change drug laws!") and intimidate the Council into preventing that debate.

But the day is coming when no amount of screeching will deter the inevitable discourse needed. Re-allocation of taxpayer funded resources to avoid total financial catastrophe is in order, and soon. And one sure way to do so is to get rid of programs that don't work. And the DrugWar certainly qualifies as such...

Anonymous said...

Sort out the BPP. I'll keep saying it till it happens.

Anonymous said...

2/3 thirds of the TDC population is a very big number!! Why, not parole the 2/3 that are eligible and who are non-violent and first time offenders! That would significantly reduce the amount of $ that is needed in order for TDC to operate!

Don said...

Scott: Again, I hate to agree with John Bradley even a LITTLE, but he had somewhat of a point on this. They are just talking about reducing some SJ felonies to Class A. The SJ detainees have already had probation, so the only other alternatives are to extend their probation, throw them into the county clink, or what else. Why not just lower them to a Class B, then the counties would have the option giving them the minimum.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what kind of savings we would see if we did parole the 2/3 now eligible. At a minimum, the state would have to hire more institutional and district parole officers to offset the glut of parolees.

Anonymous said...

Even if they got a 20% pay raise, that would bring it up to what 32 or 33K? Still terribly low..

Anonymous said...

Pay is not the problem. Just like TYC, aleady given big raises, but the problems continue. Change the majority of management and things will improve, along with paroling most of the prisoners.

Anonymous said...

"Among the budget increases proposed for Texas' prison system were $22.2 million for pay raises for correctional and parole officers, and $10.4 million in bond funds to repair the Hurricane Ike-damaged prison hospital in Galveston."

Do you know what other budget increases are that is causing the 3.7 billion deficit or where one can go to find out?

Is the prison hospital damage you talked about not covered by insurance?

SB said...

There are sex offenders who never had to spend time in prison. They get sent directly to registration. That saves space and the punishment is devastating for an entire family. We need a justice system rather than a vengeance system where people don't particularly like one another to begin with.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

kaptinemo - We're in Texas, for heaven's sake. Our pols have to crawl before they can walk or run. It's fine to say the solution is "repealing just about all the present drug laws," but there's simply not public support right now for that kind of radical change. OTOH, I think there IS broad public support for removing the felony tag for low-level possession cases.

Don, the only reason not to propose moving it to Class B is the same thing I said to kaptinemo - I don't believe it's politically feasible and it would actually be a huge, landmark deal to lower the penalty just a notch. The Lege has to walk before it can run.

Especially for first-timers, there's little harm and lots of good from reducing to an A misdemeanor from SJF because they don't get the same employment barriers, etc., when they're done. And since the Lege mandated probation on the first offense back in 2003 for less than a gram cases, it wouldn't fill up the jails nearly as much as Bradley predicted.

On second offenses, the "minimum" penalty is the same for B and A misdemeanors - the former is "up to" 6 months in the county pokey and the latter "up to" 12 months. (See here.) So Class A's wouldn't impose a higher "minimum" than Class Bs. They'd be in the same position either way.

That said, there'd still be a big public policy benefit just from reducing the offense class for less than a gram on FIRST offenders, it just wouldn't affect the prison overcrowding problem much.

To anon 2:00 - it's not budget increases that's causing the shortfall, it's declining revenue because of the economic slump and declining oil prices. On the prison hospital, it was one of many UTMB buildings that was un- or under-insured. The state will have a LOT of Ike-related rebuilding costs, whether they rebuild the school in Galveston or somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Grits, You will be disappointed to hear this. I think President Clinton is pushing it very hard as well as he was the founder of COPS.

On the other hand, Obama did freeze the salaries of 100 aides today.

House Unveils Economic Stimulus Plan: Includes $4 Billion for COPS Hiring and Byrne JAG

Congress is back in session after what seemed to be never-ending election year, and one of most pressing item on their new legislative agenda is the $825 billion economic stimulus package to revive the current economic crisis.

President Obama is pushing for swift action on an economic stimulus package, which includes $3billion for the critical Byrne JAG program and $1 billion for COPS Hiring Initiative.

The $1 billion for COPS is to hire approximately 13,000 additional local law enforcement officers for the next 3 years: up to a 75 percent match or $75,000 to hire a new, entry level law enforcement officer (salary and benefits). The grantee would be responsible for at least 25 percent in matching funds, and must commit to use its own funds to keep the officer on board for a fourth year.

Anonymous said...

If passed, I wonder if TDCJ guards will fall under this. Yes, change is coming.....

House Reintroduces Collective Bargaining Bill for Public Safety Officers

Continues to Strongly Oppose Measure

The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act of 2009 (H.R. 413), which would impose a federal mandate on state and local government labor management relations, thereby forcing sheriffs and their deputies to adhere to strict guidelines established by the federal government, was re-introduced by Congressman Dale Kildee (D-MI) on January 9, 2009. No Senate companion of the bill has been introduced at this time.

has met with Congressman Kildee's office, along with our coalition partners to express our opposition to the collective bargaining bill. Additionally, has also met with Congressman Buck McKeon's (R-CA) and Senator Judd Gregg's (R-NH) offices last week to further discuss our opposition to the bill. Congressman McKeon was the Republican sponsor of the bill and Senator Gregg introduced the bill in the Senate during the last 110th Congress.

The fate of defeating the collective bargaining bill looks bleak in the current Congress with a stronger Democratic majority in both chambers and a Democratic Administration. There is more than enough support for the bill to easily pass the House. In the Senate, the loss of several key Senators who voted against the bill make it likely that the bill will pass the Senate as well.

Moreover, President Obama is on record as supporting the legislation. ( was successful in securing a presidential veto in the last Congress.) However, continues to be vigilant in strongly opposing the bill, and will be sending out opposition letters to all Members of the House and Senate in the coming weeks. In the event that cannot block the measure, we are currently working with both the House and the Senate to include language within the bill that will minimize its negative impact on public safety employers.

Anonymous said...

Grits, I am getting ready to write a 'concerned citizen' letter to share with others(on a prison support forum) for the purpose of sending it to our senators and representitives. I agree with paroling at least the appropriate of the 2/3 parole ready inmates. I would also like to see mandatory supervised release for appropriate cases be used again. Do you mind if I quote you and send a copy of one or more of your articles and references? Thanks, g

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No problem, 9:01, you're welcome to quote me. The sourcing for the number of parole-eligible inmates, etc., can all be found in the links.

Anonymous said...

9:01 please let us know where you are posting your letter. i would like to support that and send it in to the appropriate people.

Anonymous said...

What about the BPP not following their own rules? Something definitely needs to be done with Rissie Ownes and the BPP. Some on the boards have no clue and do not follow the rules and preform as though there are no rules to follow.

The rules are easy to find on line, but apparently those who are making decisons regarding the lives of others have not or chose not to read or follow them.

The State of Virgina did away with their BPP and seem to be be doing much better, they actually have rehabalitation and teach trades and let people go home to their families and become real citizens again! Any of you listeneing in the Texas Legislature?

We could save millions and families could be reunited if those who have been paroled and are elgible for parole are allowed to return home, you would not need the number of guards and workers and guess what? You could shut down some of the old units that are in shambles and have fewer but better run facilites and only for those who actually need to be there. You might be able to actually help some who are there, imagine that!!

Give us back our youth, families and stop wasting our money on prisons just to be able to say we are the biggest, totally not worth the hurt and money spent!!

Anonymous said...

anon @ 12.54 said: "I wonder what kind of savings we would see if we did parole the 2/3 now eligible. At a minimum, the state would have to hire more institutional and district parole officers to offset the glut of parolees."

Lets try and work it out shall we?

2/3 of 185,000 is roughly 110,000. How much does it cost to keep an inmate in TDCJ for a year?
Well, based on the $40 a day quoted here:
it costs TDCJ $14,600 every year to keep each inmate.

How many inmates could a parole officer oversee?
based on this report:
TX Parole officers oversee a caseload of approx 70 individuals.

70 x £14,600 = a lot more than 1 Parole Officer's salary.

So it could actually improve the Parole Officers' situation and reduce their caseloads, because the state could reasonably employ more of them to cover the new parolees plus the existing ones.

Inmates paroled into families who support them, with reasonable and not draconian rules to follow, can become tax paying citizens just like everyone else. If necesarry, claim back a small amount from their pay to cover their parole fees at source, instead of just waiting for them to violate their parole conditions by not paying up.

It really could be that simple.

Anonymous said...

Sunray, what a fantastic idea! Let those go who are trustworthy and let them get their lives back. Many of them have supportive families and would welcome them back. The children who love and need that parent in their lives, the mothers and fathers who love that child and hurt day to day from knowing their child is being treated like inhumanly, now is the time for the Lege to stand up and stop this useless drain of man power and money.

Contract the trucking jobs that Inmates do to a company at a contracted price, thus many jobs would be gained and those drivers who are Inmates who faithfully go out each and every day by themselves and deliver what they have to deliver and then return at night to be treated as an inhumane, awakened during the night by some vindictive guard who is only there to be their miserable self; let those people go home. The people who are trustees, have earned that by honesty and doing what they were told and changing and derserve to go home and have some happiness, as do their wives and children.

Continue to hound the Legislators to stop spending our money to hurt lives of people who don't deserve it.

Granted, some will go back to the same behavior that got them arrested and imprisoned but there are some who with some job training would make it. Give everyone a chance.

Anonymous said...

You know, TYC has a much higher staff to youth ratio and work much more closely with them. I swear TYC needs a good pr person. Nobody seems to get it, both TYC and TDCJ are mismanaged. The way they do things make no sense. Both agencies need alot of restructuring. There seem to be alot of confusion over how things should be. So much political crap going on. Remember, public safety is the number one concern. If you can help them out along the way that's great. So many of the policies place inmate rights over those of public safety. Yes inmates have rights, No one should be abused. But we have to remember that people are in prison usually because they harmed society. AT least people are not trying to close TDCJ. Whether adult or juvenile, if they need to be locked up, they need to be locked up. You cannot make a cookie cutter business out of all of this. You have to do it on a case by case basis. I do think people in for minor drug offenses can do just as well in treatment or on probation. But still,you must, must consider the impact on society. We think about the offenders so much that we forget about public safety. Some sex offenders are very dangerous and are not going to respond to much of anything. I don't want pedophiles back on the streets. I worked with them, I know how they think. You've got to separate people who might of had sex with a 13 yr. old when they were 17. There is no black and white to any of this. Do you guys know that since the word got out about tyc maybe merging with probation, and staff getting laid off, that immediately youth assaults on staff increased even more. I'm talking broken bones and teeth, serious injuries. One staff that was attacked from behind got his hand broken. Off course the staff is in trouble, not the young man because the young man had to go to the hospital as well. Now that is what is screwed up. The demand to get the kids out ASAP is also a problem. A kid released back to Copperas Cove just committed two more armed robberies I believe. A kid sent back home to San Antonio was gunned down in cold blood. In TDCJ and TYC you must consider the risk the impose on society, where will they go, will they be properly supervised? This is all so screwed up. Look, at TYC some JCO VI's make as much and sometimes more than some psychologists and P.A's. Caseworkers make less than many JCO's. It's not the money, it's how it is being spent. You must consider the hiring process as well. There are no easy answers here and all I see are knee jerk reactions going on. I know this much, if crime rates were down they won't be much longer. At some point everybody must understand that the government cannot fix all of our problems and we must learn to be accountable for our actions. there are exceptions, but basically that's how it is. We must leave room for common sense here. I know everyone must be confused about what they want because you expect TYC to rehabilitate those kids yet you don't want them to stay there very long or not at all. You can't have it both ways. If change can take place its going to take longer than three months. In TDCJ there is really no treatment and you still want them out on the streets. Careful what you ask for.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I am not going to spit in the faces of citizens that are victims of violent crime. Many of you are way to idealistic.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I am not going to spit in the faces of citizens that are victims of violent crime"

Since more than half of Texas prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, I really have no idea what you're talking about.

And Sunray: That $40 per day number is probably a little dated. At this point, the number is probably closer to $17-$18,000 per year per prisoner - the increases were caused largely by rising healthcare costs, new pay hikes for entry level staff to improve retention, and last year's surge in gasoline prices.

Anonymous said...

Everyone that is asking for the youth and inmates to be paroled or released early are not in favor of releasing those that are violent or would be a threat to society.

Is it prudent though to keep the non-violent, low level, white collar offenders who are parole eligible. If you just paroled two inmates at $18,000 a year you can pay a CO,PO, whatever $36,000 a year which is comparable to what beginning teachers make with a 4 year degree!

I think we can all agree that certain sex offenders and violent offenders needs to be imprisoned for the public's safetly. But if you paroled more of those that are eligible and less of a threat to society you can have more resources for rehabilative services for those sex offenders and violent offenders.

Also, I think it would also be more prudent that for felons to be able to have their record expunged after a determinate amount of time without committing another crime. Once someone has served their time and paid their "debt to society" they shouldn't have to continue paying their debt to society for the rest of their lives. Not only does it hurt them and their families but it also hurts our communities. Some of those felons who are qualified may never be able to get a higher pay job because of their record thus costing us as a community the tax dollars that they could be paying.

I have no problem paying to house inmates who are at risk of harming my family and me. But to pay to house those that are parole eligible who do not pose a physical threat to anyone is a waste of my tax dollars! Notice I said those that are parole eligible! I did not say that you shouldn't be held accountable for your actions, but those that are parole eligible should be released!

Quit wasting my damn tax money! I work hard for my money, use it wisely!

Anonymous said...

"Some of those felons who are qualified may never be able to get a higher pay job because of their record thus costing us as a community the tax dollars that they could be paying."

I'm down with Grits on some of the non-violent offenders receiving Grits.

But to Anon 3:02, what percentage of those non-violent offenders that are incarcerated today do you think were working when they were arrested? I don't know myself.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say I'm down with Grits on some of the non-violent offenders receiving parole. Sorry about Grits.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I believe they should ALSO receive Grits. ;)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

BTW, 3:56 - That's a VERY good question about the percentage of offenders who were employed when they committed their offense.

I've asked that question myself MANY times, and I've never seen a data-driven answer. I don't think anyone knows, or even has a basis for a good guess.

In fact, lately I've been wondering if TDCJ shouldn't do a LOT more interviewing and data accumulation (from pretrial services and CSCD reports, etc.) on inmates when they first arrive - and also exit interviews before they go - to help guide in-prison programming decisions, reentry plans, etc. Probably a topic for a future post.

Anonymous said...

Scott ~ it was the only one I could find. You are right, there is very little publicly available data on any of the questions we are asking.

As for "spitting in the faces of the victims" by releasing those who are eligible for parole - take it up with the Legislators, who make the rules that say the offenders are eligible for parole. You voted them in, they make the rules on your mandate. The law says these inmates could be released and the BPP are not following the rules.

And just one more thing, my personal hobby horse are inmates incarcerated for 'violent offences' who do not display violent behaviour while incarcerated. Often the charge is evelated as high as it will go (not only in TX), when the actions were completely out of character. Everyone wants these inmates to 'change'. When they show that they can behave, why then deny them that change? It is obvious that those in prison who dont learn to control their tempers and modify their behaviour tend to pick up cases and spend time in Ad Seg. Those inmates should have to work harder for their chance at parole. But inmates serving time for a 'violent offence' who do not pick up cases, get into trouble, or spend any time in a higher security level than they entered the system at, should be given a fair chance at parole along with the non-agg inmates, imo. Set parole at 1/3 time for all inmates (it is currently 1/4 time for non-agg offenders and 1/2 time for agg offenders), and then just keep the ones who cannot or will not behave thenselves.

Anonymous said...

Group fighting private prison wants to amend Nacogdoches charter

The Daily Sentinel

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Around 40 people attended a Citizens Opposed to the Prison Site (COPS) meeting Monday, and the group's founder, Dr. Paul Risk, said the organization is moving forward with a petition that could change the city charter.

Anonymous said...

The decision to release an offender back into society is not easy.
There is no question that there are many inmates that should be released from TDCJ. The question is: Will the right ones be released? So two thirds of TDCJ inmates, according to research, are eligible for parole. It is important to know how that is defined and the measures used to determine it. Quite often the most dangerous criminals appear to be model inmates. They are the "masterminds" behind riots, fights and serious disruption. They manipulate less sophisticated inmates and charm staff. They fake it and that is hard to reveal. Lower functioning inmates that are harmless take the fall for the others and get falsly accused. Their understanding is poor, they don't speak well and they get abused and overlooked, lost in the system. I question the validity of the data. I know it is often skewed. Empirical data gets skewed easily, whether by oversight, ignorance or intention. I know because I was in it for many years. I can't tell the jacked up data that the leg got. My collegues and I tried in vain for two years to explain emperical data and valid criteria etc.. to our supervisor. I would like to know exactly how they get their figures. The human business is complicated business. Parole eligible doesn't mean reformed and productive citizen in the free.

Anonymous said...

I'n all for change, I know it can happen because I've been fortunate to see it happen first hand. I certainly believe inmates who have consistently proven that are ready deserve a chance. But, Becuse most offenders are in prison for non violent offences doesn't mean they are non violent individuals. Violent offenders usually behave better than non violent because they have more to lose. I don't believe in collateral punishment for anyone. I do believe that we need to be consistent. We think less of escorting a caseworker off of a dorm in front of his kids for a thirty year old crime than we do anything. We can't say that we care much at all about employees or inmates. We give nothing but constant turmoil to inmates by always changing, saying one thing and then doing another, there's hope, no there isn't. We do the same to staff by threatening them, removing tools that protected their safety. They get injured, taunted and verbally attacked. Yes part of the job, but much less likely in a safe and secure environment, Pay helps, bu my goodness, look at many probation and parole saleries. I think most peope want to to feel lke they mattered somehow and that is not about money. Take a look at management, It's just the truth.

Anonymous said...

It would be helpful to see financial reports on how TDCJ institutions manage their fundsfrom the top down. Governmen agencies are notoriously top heavy in management. They are also known for wasteful spending. Wasteful spending can be accidental, unethical. , intentional, and or incompetent. Buying 50 new radios at 1500 a piece is beyond criminal. Tax dollars feathering buddies pocket. You sexually harrassed a woman for the 5th time. In your face intentional. The state must pay to defend you. Your pall in hr forces complainant into early retirement. More lawsuit. Hire my son, my daughter, whoever even though they are barely literate and hae a bad temper.We cool, we just hired staff unable to adequately perform duties. No one says anything to her and soon she is training new staff. She curses and agitates inmates, that is what she teaches. She keeps getting raises for nothing. She just shows up and sits. Cultures and habits don't develop overnight, the change is very subtle. Must be addressed or it will spread.
Are you eliminating candidates employees on whether or not they filled in each space according to instuctions on the state application. Did they forget something that can be asked at interview. Minor corrections and such should not kick a person off, Drilling about possible terminations, not a good thing. Telling candidate that the job doesn'tallow for much free thinking or opinions bad. Have key words on app that everyone is asked. Memorizing three words that you have been fed is bad. Don't look for pat ansers, accept errors. Don't tell candidates that their app won't be accepted if they fail to provide certain documents. A license might be lost, a transcript on the way. Give reading and writing rudamentary test to all candidates. They must be able to sound literate a make a sentence. Don't be concerned over minor blemishes we all have them. Give open ended questions. Chill out, the staff are not in jail to. give non frontline staff a little freedom. Flextime, shift swap. Downsize bloated egos created positions in management. I bet money frees up in all kinds of places, and people are more willing to stay through hard times. Don't allow staff to bully or intimidate other staff inmates. Model more integrity and intellect and raise standards, the rest follows. Talk with veteran staff that have been getting away with as little work as possible and encourage to change. If they continue not to respond take action, but do all to keep. Accept differences and faults in employees, Everyone brings something special to the organization. Focus on those talents rather than harping on other things. Don't dish out corrective action plans. Just the sound is insulting to a grown up and employees are grown ups. Disciplinary action based on tracking an employee is a good way to lose staff. You do not waste time spying and gathering dirt on your people.Don't set them up for failure, help them to succeed. Throw out write ups for two or more tardies, or two or more failures to sign a sign in. Build trust with your team. Be honest with them. Don't become hitler and threaten with if you don't like it don't et the doroo hit you in the ass. Do not allow gossip and backbiting. Support your employees. OK, write sound policies and procedures and make sure the staff know it. listen to opinions and ideas and allow exchange. Ok try that style and see what happens. you don't need to more money.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 7.51 ~ you sound like a guy who knows. Is TDCJ still actively recruiting officers from the African continent? I remember over the past couple of years there have been comments in various places about the difficulty in officers understanding each other's accents, is that still happening?

x4livin said...

Anonymous said...
Grits, I am getting ready to write a 'concerned citizen' letter to share with others(on a prison support forum) for the purpose of sending it to our senators and representitives. I agree with paroling at least the appropriate of the 2/3 parole ready inmates. I would also like to see mandatory supervised release for appropriate cases be used again. Do you mind if I quote you and send a copy of one or more of your articles and references? Thanks, g

1/21/2009 09:01:00 PM

Here it is..draft form only, anyone is welcome to add in info and use what you can:

Anonymous said...

My husband who is incarecerated is parole eligible and is a non-violent person and offender. He has heard that the Feds have been telling TDC to release 40,000 inmates by April 2009....I can't find any data on this and wondering if anyone has seen articles pertaining to this or has heard the same thing. I told him I would look up whatever I can about it. His parole eligibility date was 12/25/08 and I've been told by the Parole status line that BPP has up to 6 months to make up their minds. I've heard horror stories of how the BPP won't even interview the individual and will only look at the folder to base their judgements and make the decision to grant parole or deny and give them a set off. I need my husband back to help with the financial situation since I also have to make sure he has money on his books for commissary because the meals are so inadequate for most men to survive off of. He's been put in the Changes class that is required for all inmates who are parole eligible. He hasn't heard anything even from the unit parole supervisor as to what is going on with his parole. This alone can really wear on the minds of inmates and their families. I call at least weekly to see if someone will tell me a little more.

Anonymous said...

In 1969 President NIXON told us on television that we we winning the war against drugs. One DEA satellite costs more than the annual TDCJ budget. I hope the state goes bankrupt and the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

make that "we were winning the war against drugs"

Anonymous said...

I will say it I am not scared> I am a Corrections Officer and for you people who don't know Texas is # 1 in Inmate population but 46th in the US for pay?Yes we beat 4 othe states. Ans as far as some people on here talking about Stae Jail Offenders. I work at 1 of those prisons and those offenders come back 6mths to 1 year later. The rate for them is 90%. And someone else said to drop Sate Jail Felonys. Well if a SEX OFFENDER fails to register he becomes a STATE JAIL OFFENDER.. Yes we need Rehab for Druggies and DWI. But we had AA and no one went to it. Come ON... With no Officers you will have more RIOTS and OFFICER ASSAULTS. We get beat up at least 3 or more a day. We might have a Radio or pepper spray.Thats it not like in the movies riot baton,firearm and tons of back up. Go to to see how all Officers in the US try to make a Livin. So go ahead and Parole them But I seen them all come back to PRISON. P.S. If you do not want them to come back to PRISON give them a JOB and don't complain!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hell merge TDC and TYC

Anonymous said...

Yeah, don't complain when they rape your wife or kidnap and molest your kids. I am a CO and it sounds like a bunch of ex-cons on this site.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:36, then YOU dont' complain about low pay or dangerous conditions for staff. Things are just fine and dandy as they are, right?

More than half of Texas inmates are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, and the overall recidivism rate is around 27%, which means 73% commit no new offenses within three years after release. So you can demagogue all you like, but what you say is foolish and uninformed. Understaffing is dangerous for guards, so I'm not sure why you think a CO's interests lie in locking more and more people up when there aren't enough warm bodies to staff the prisons.

Anonymous said...

If TDCJ would just start with a very basic simple change it would help- -TDCJ ruling on hiring says "One does NOT have to be a AMERICAN citizen to work there"- -belive that?
TDCJ has the MOST "non-citizens" of any corporation in Texas- -point- -these people do NOT pay taxes- -hello!!
Change THIS rulling, you just got a lot of tax money to use.
Basically, these people make MORE than the average "joe blow" that works just as hard and pays taxes- -what's WRONG with this picture?
The NON-Americans receive all benefits, receive the same raises (like we get any anyway) received everything a tax paying person does- -but they do not pay taxes, and the language barrior is unreal.
Change THAT, and one has a major increase in revenue.
But of course that would make sense and TDCJ can't possibly do that!!!

Anonymous said...

In January 2009 over 7,000 people were killed in northern Mexico in the drug war that will soon embroil the Texas border. Do Texans have the brainpower to start emptying their prisons to make way for the incoming drug barons that will be wreaking havoc in Texas? I would bet no. Texas is about to discover what real crime is all about and they need to get rid of the sick and old inmates that are no longer a threat to anyone so as to make room for the machine gun toting drud dealers that are about to give Texas blowhard wannabe cowboys a lesson in crime the state will never forget.

Anonymous said...

make that DRUG dealers

Anonymous said...

Violent offender or not, if a convict is over 55, has served say, half his sentence or more and is not a threat to the public due to poor health and the inability to walk 100 feet without sitting down and trying not to pass out he should be let go so as to make room for those who have the physical capability to wreak havoc on others. There are a bunch of these limping guys at the Boyd Unit---if their cell doors were left open for a year they would still be there waiting for the guards since they couldn't walk a quarter mile before dying from a heart attack. The public is being cheated but I guess they don't care since Texas obviously has so much money to waste! You better believe that the revenue sharing analysts in Washington DC are taking note of this folly and Texas federal revenue sharing will be less than what it would be otherwise.

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