Thursday, April 22, 2010

TDCJ regional release facilities announced soon, but state jails already send offenders straight home

An announcement will be made in a couple of weeks, according to the Abilene Reporter-News, which TDCJ facilities will become "regional release" facilities, a move spurred in large part by high gas prices a couple of years back. Presently TDCJ prison inmates are all released from Huntsville. However, the article also points out an exception to that practice that's been going on for some time:

According to TDCJ, last year there were 72,000 prisoners released in Texas. Of those, about 30,000 were released from drug programs and state jails like those prisoners released from the Walker Sayle Unit in Breckenridge and the Havins Unit in Brownwood.

“Some released inmates from the Walker Sayle Unit (a substance abuse felony punishment facility in Breckenridge) have been brought by van to Abilene’s Greyhound bus terminal for release and transfer to their hometowns, for several years,” Bruce said. “This process is carried out on at least a weekly basis.”

Officials at the bus station, say ex-offenders have not caused any problems there, so far.

“We have never had any problems, not one little speck,” said Glenn Pinkerton, a ticket agent at Greyhound, located on Cedar Street.

This bit of new information makes me wonder: If TDCJ already releases 30,000 people a year from state jails and treatment facilities, why did the agency choose to use regional release facilities for the others? Why pay the extra transportation costs, etc.? (The legislation gave the agency the option to do it either way.) If it's possible to release inmates directly from state jails, it should be possible in TDCJ's institutional division.


Anonymous said...

Hey genius, they released the other offenders from huntsville because that is where they were processed out. Given their bus fare, gate money and signed for their parole certificates. State jail offenders complete their sentence and are released. Parolees are a bit more complicated, they have to have an approved home plan before release and if not they are placed at a halfway house. TDCJ doesn't have the placement staff throughout the state, they are all located in huntsville. That is why the "other" offenders are sent to huntsville and then released. And i thought you knew everything about everything...Apparently not.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Hey genius, state jail felons are also "processed out," it's just done from their unit. Do you imagine at state jails they just open the doors and shove them out onto the street?

Also, you may not have noticed but the law changed and Huntsville is no longer the only place they will be given "bus fare, gate money and signed for their parole certificates." So if placement staff are "are all located in Huntsville," some of those people (or at least their jobs) will have to move.

I never claimed to know everything about everything. In fact, to me it seems like I spend most of my time on this blog asking questions, as in this post.

Don said...

Hey Anonymous genius--also, he was referring to a SAFPF, whose offenders ARE released on parole, and/or in some cases, probation.

Suggestion: when you even THINK you may know a little more about a subject than Grits or somebody else, people might tend to read your post if you humbly offer your opinion, or your clarification, instead of a smart-assed "hey genius". As it turns out, you were mostly incorrect anyway.

sunray's wench said...

I think the reason TDCJ decided on just a handful of release units as opposed to releasing inmates from their assigned ID unit is pretty much down to staffing. They could not find/retain the staff needed to work as COs, they are unlikely to be able to find clerical staff for many of the most rural units to process the release papers of inmates. Don't forget, TDCJ as an agency still relies on antiquated computer equipment and inmates are not released until their certificate is printed, which appears to take several weeks in many cases.

Randy said...

Do you know where you can get a copy of your Parole Certificate

Unknown said...

In all your comments there is some truth and some fiction. TDCJ-ID units are subject to the whims, regulations, agreements, etc. of the local governments surrounding the prisons. When TDCJ announced taking some of the stress off the Huntsville unit in releasing prisoners, a whole lot of people started rumbling about having prisoners walking down the main streets of their towns to the local bus station. Since Huntsville has been doing it for years and employs so many guards and administrative people, it has become an accepted part of living in the community to expect to see offenders walking to the bus station there. TDCJ is looking for ways to cut costs in overall operations, including transportation. It will not be long before regional release centers are in full operation. I believe a lot of the growing pains will be trial and error with releasing people in different communities. It would not shock me if TDCJ ends up with a lot more release centers than originally planned. There are a lot of people who think that the institutional division of TDCJ gets some kind of sick thrill out of keeping people as long as they can. In reality, the institutional division is constantly trying to stream down the process of releasing people. If you think in financial terms, you will understand that the ID division is very happy to release someone when the parole board grants them parole and or they have served their maximum sentance. Opening new release centers and releasing from assigned units will speed up the release process, which translates in to millions of dollars in savings by getting people off the books.