Thursday, September 09, 2010

Key Report, Articles, and New Coalition Update

Hi everyone, it’s Ana, hope you’re all having a great day.

I received a notice today that an important report has been posted on TDCJ’s website. During Texas’ 2009 state legislative session, lawmakers passed H.B. 1711, relating to requiring the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to establish a comprehensive reentry and reintegration plan for offenders released or discharged from a correctional facility.

The report features the progress of the bill’s implementation. If you are interested in re-entry issues, please check it out!

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Also, below are two interesting articles that Grits readers may be interested in:

Texas sex offender registry in danger?

Lawmakers Urge a Change in How Inmates are Counted
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Finally, the website of a newly formed coalition called Texas Forward: A Balanced Approached to a Balanced Budget is up and running. This coalition, of which TCJC is a member, was created to address Texas’ pending budget shortfall, which will have serious ramifications on funding for public services and on the ultimate well being of the people who live in our state.

As we head into the next legislative session, we are concerned about how our leadership will address this critical shortfall. We have already heard much talk about cuts, which means funding for vital services in our state, will be in jeopardy.

In response to the short- and long-term deficits, Texas Forward has coalesced around the following Principles:

1. A truly balanced budget adequately funds today's needed public services and prepares Texas for future demands caused by changing demographics, technology,
and economic competition.

2. A truly balanced budget is supported by taxes that are imposed equitably on families of different income levels and businesses in different sectors.

3. Revenue to fund a truly balanced budget is generated from sources that will grow along with the growth in need for public services.

4. Shuffling money among under-funded programs and shifting the cost of public services off the state budget conceals the true need for more state resources.

5. A truly balanced budget is developed in an open and transparent process.

A growing list of organizations have become Texas Forward members because they know that the budget cannot be balanced on cuts alone. You can visit Texas Forward today to learn more about the 2011 Legislative Agenda and the activities leading up to January 2011.

You can also follow Texas Forward on Facebook and Twitter!

I encourage you to get involved to help us ensure a better future for Texas.


Anonymous said...

It's not about the representation, it's about the funding.

I live in Walker County and we have a large inmate population. While inmates are incarcerated here (some for the rest of their lives), they are not using resource from their home counties. They are using the resources of Walker County. For instance, the City of Huntsville's water treatment plant provides fresh water to the prisons. We have reached a point of consumption where we will soon have to build a new treatment plant to meet demand. If we weren't providing the inmates with water, we would be able to put it off for a many years.

Our only hospital provides emergency room services along with other health services to inmates. I was in the emergency room last month. The waiting room was full of local people waiting to be seen, while two inmates took up two private rooms in our small emergency room.

The City also picks up their trash and takes it to the dump. When inmates escape, our local law enforcement is called to action. Our district attorney's office also prosecutes the crimes committed by inmates while they are behind bars. All of the infrastructure for the inmates must be provided; roads, water, sewer, etc. Everything taken in or out of the prison, travels over our roads. Those roads need maintaining. Road funding is partly based on population.

Many of the services I mentioned receive grants and other funding from state and federal sources based on population. If Walker County, the City of Huntsville, and Huntsville Memorial Hospital could not count the inmates, we could not afford to provide any services to them.

Why should Harris county get to count an inmate when the inmate uses absolutely no resources from Harris county and there is no guarantee that the inmate will ever return to Harris County?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't your county get tons of money in jobs? Isn't there some trade-off?

Angee said...

I read Mike Ward's article. In the comment section several posters mentioned an article with a different view written by another reporter at the Statesman. Can someone give me a link to get to the other article? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Angee, try this one. Got it from the TxVoices website.

Angee said...

Thank you, Anon. That is just what I was looking for.

Anonymous said...

And what extra funding does Walker County get for counting prisoners as residents in the census? The state pays its water and electric bills either way, so there's no benefit there. The hospital gains no benefit from counting inmates as residents - the state pays for those services, too. Ditto for trash.

It's false to claim Walker County "receives grants and other funding from state and federal sources based on population." I bet they can't name one because there aren't any grants distributed to counties based on population. It's a self-interested lie! Not one of the services named is supported by population based "grants."

Opposition to counting prisoners in their home counties is about rural counties depopulating but wanting to keep more political power than they deserve. Nothing else.

escalante blogger said...

there are lots to trade bro, just seek and you'll find it.

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