Monday, April 16, 2012

Parole rates rising, especially for aggravated sex offenders

An attorney forwarded me data related to month-by-month Texas parole rates for various classes of offenders showing a slight nut noticeable overall increase in parole rates - especially for aggravated sex offenders, surprisingly - since the beginning of the fiscal year.

By contrast, here are the parole approval rates by offense type for FY 2010 from the parole board's annual report (pdf, p. 20):
  • Violent Aggravated Non-Sexual: 26.22%
  • Violent Aggravated Sexual: 39.82%
  • Violent Non-Aggravated Non-Sexual: 22.61%
  • Non-Aggravated Sexual: 28.40%
  • Non-Violent: 33.89%
  • Total: 31.01%
Grits finds these data remarkable, particularly the relatively high, recent parole approval rates for aggravated sex offenders. Of course, these data must be taken with a grain of salt. They could represent short term fluctuations resulting from particular cases that happened to come before the board recently. Also, notes the attorney who forwards the information, quite a few sex offenders approved for parole must first undergo treatment, take classes, etc., so not all those may be released any time soon. It's even possible the parole board chose to approve certain sex offenders who are nearing the end of their sentence so they'll be released while still under supervision instead of simply being handed $100 and a bus ticket with no reentry support.

Without more detailed data it's impossible to say what's behind the numbers or whether the spike may continue. It'll take many more months of data before one could say if recent, higher parole rates, including for agg sex offenders, are an outlier or represent a bona fide trend. But it does seem as though overall parole rates are inching upward, including even for serious offenders with long prison terms. This is good short-term economic news for the agency and the state and likely will pose little overall safety risk. If it continues, lessened prison population pressure will make it much less difficult next year for the Legislature to consider closure of more older, high-cost units as a cost-saving measure.

RELATED: Since Grits mentioned above data on sex offenders deemed ready for parole, it's worth mentioning that the Houston Chronicle has a story ("Freed Texas sex offendes aren't really free," April 16) about the state's civil commitment program, which supervises sex offenders deemed unfit for unfettered release even though they've fully served their sentence. Civil commitment is an extra punishment attached after criminal sanctions end and some critics complain it amounts to double jeopardy.  The Chronicle discussion arises in the wake of a recent escape by a high-risk sex offender from a halfway house run by the Geo Group, a private prison vendor. (Texas Prison Bidness notes that this was the 5th escape from that facility in 18 months.) Roughly 244 offenders are currently monitored in Texas' civil commitment program.


Anonymous said...

It might just be political. Parole rates usually go down before an election and back up afterward so it's not a big surprise to see them heading north now that Perry is no longer running for President.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that many of them recently completed a required SOTP and were all approved parole at around the same time after completing the program? It's just a theory, but nothing can explain the parole board's decision making process.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

2:05, that could could be ... that's why I said it's too early to call it a trend. There could be some perfectly mundane explanation for the short-term bump.

Anonymous said...

Probably just a bunch of cops who came up for parole because, as we all know, more police officers are convicted of child sex crimes than all other professions combined. It's law enforcement's "dirty little secret". Please visit our Facebook page and learn more about why cops are so prone to sexually abusing little kids:

Anonymous said...

approval conditioned on class completion but BPP specifies an advanced date before the inmate can be considered for placement which can be upwards of 5 to 6 mths or longer. since there is a waiting list for the 308 beds (as of July 2011) it can be a year after parole before someone even gets assigned to a class. So, the approval stats are very misleading. Many elect to skip the class and not be on parole since there isn't much time left on their sentence after the class would be completed. Totally self-defeating process when the legislature mandates treatment then won't fund enough beds and the BPP runs the Rehab process. Sorry Grits, can't use my name this time.

sunray's wench said...

I think it is interesting that although there is a slight trend upwards, the overall approval figures are fairy consistent month on month. This would indicate a "quota" being filled, rather than anyone looking at individual circumstances.

It seems to indicate that violent non-sexual offenders have a 1 in 3 chance of parole - which is a good thing, in my opinion - but it doesn't tell us how many times those offenders have previously been denied.

rodsmith said...

i'm just suprised there are not more cases of CITIZENS trying to escape what is clearly an illegal and unlawful imprisonment.

Sorry the USSC got it wrong. It does not even come close to passing the smell test!

It's not even close to legal under our constution for the state

to decide your sane enough to chare
sane enough to take to trial
sane enough to complete said trial
sane enough to impose a sentence
sane enough to have you SERVE that sentence...

then ONLY as your fixing to FINISH that sentence THEN DECIDE YOUR NUTS!

sorry i consider it an UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT and would be doing whatever i needed to do to get out of matter who had to get hurt!

Anonymous said...

the whole thing is screwed up. and the STOP program? that is one of the worst groups in the state. keedy is all about the money he gets to keep his fancy cars and boats. he cant keep counselors, they quit because of his methods and materials used. something needs to be done about the austin sex offender council failing to monitor the treatment providers. they take up to 8 months to review a complaint!

Anonymous said...

The numbers are deceptive. Those with sex offenses will most times sit on a waiting list up to a year (or longer) to attend the required treatment classes after they have been granted parole. Additionally, the prison treatment programs are highly un-organized and ill-structured. Waste of taxpayer dollars for sure.

Anonymous said...

I volunteer at a men's unit and one thing that I am noticing (no data to back it up just my personal observation) is that more guys are making parole that have served twenty or thirty years or more. Alot of my inmates have served since their teens or early twenties. It's good to see them getting a chance to be successful in the free world in their forties and fifties while they still have some opportunity to make a life for themselves and spend time with their aging parents and family.

Obviously this is also a win for the system if these guys can be successful on parole and not have to be supported into their old age by TDC.

ColeenSanLeon said...

Just read this on and wanted to share it on this subject; "As to the sex offender approval rates, what the masses tend to miss is that it is numbers manipulation...the agency has a lot of people with sentences less than 8 years in duration and who had to do half of the sentence flat to be eligible for parole. The only option on a denial was a three-year set-off. So instead the Board votes the FI-18R and sets the program to begin six months to a year down the road and the release takes place close to the discharge date. But in the meantime, the approval rates went up even though almost the entirety of the sentence is being served so that the Board can show the Legislature that they are trying to impose programming prior to a very short period of supervision."

Anonymous said...

My husband just made parole but really it only means he will get out three to six months early if that. NOT GETTING MY HOPES UP