Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Probation revocations decline slightly: Target resources, strategies toward revocation reduction

Here are a few details from TDCJ's "Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds" published on Dec. 1, for those interested:

In FY 2012, 23,449 felony offenders in Texas had their probation revoked and were sent back to TDCJ out of a total 231,376 offenders under direct and indirect supervision statewide. Seven percent of those revoked were DWI offenders, 31% were first convicted on some sort of controlled-substances charges, mostly possession, reported TDCJ.

Revocations for "technical" violations declined, but not as much as is sometimes portrayed, according to the report. TDCJ reported 13,504 felony technical revocations in 2005 compared to 12,034 in 2012. "In FY2012, approximately 39% of offenders revoked to TDCJ for technical violations had absconded in the year prior to revocation, a slight increase from 36% in FY2011." So a significant proportion of the remaining "technical" violators stopped showing up at meetings with their probation officer and had a warrant issued. (That's a narrow category where stronger, HOPE-style, probation measures might be useful.) One third of felony technical revocations in 2012 were defendants convicted of controlled substances offenses, reported TDCJ.

One micro-trend Grits hadn't heretofore detected:
In FY2012, funding reductions closed five (5) residential facilities resulting in a loss of 181 residential beds. In addition, one (1) 90-bed facility in El Paso was closed for 8 months in FY2012 due to building maintenance issues. The closure of these beds during FY2012 resulted in a 10.6% decrease in the overall average CCF [community corrections facility] population between FY2011 and FY2012. However, due to the significant investments in residential treatment beds, the current statewide average CCF population represents approximately 300 more treatment beds used in FY2012 than in FY2005. 
Here are a few more details about specific local probation departments:
Tarrant CSCD increased felony revocations to TDCJ by 290 from FY2011 to FY2012; that number represents a 21.2% increase in revocations. Tarrant CSCD’s percentage of the felony population is 4.9% of the state, while their revocations represent 7.1% of the felony revocations to TDCJ statewide. The CSCD recently began auditing revocations between FY2010 and FY2012 to examine reasons for the observed increase in revocations. Initial results indicate that due to several issues relating to data collection and reporting, FY2011 revocations were under-reported. However, the observed trend of a decrease in revocations between FY2010 and FY2011 and an increase between FY2011 and FY2012 is accurate. Therefore, a more in-depth audit of FY2012 revocations is being conducted to examine reasons behind the increase.

Although the percentage of felony revocations to TDCJ is similar to their percentage of the statewide felony population, the continuing increases in revocations in Bexar CSCD are noteworthy. In FY2013, Bexar CSCD will be conducting research to determine the factors that increase felony revocations.

TDCJ-CJAD has been working with Collin CSCD since January 2009 to address issues leading to the increasing numbers of revocations to TDCJ. Collin CSCD indicated that they would be moving toward a more proactive rather than reactive approach to supervising offenders. Initial results show a decrease in revocations between FY2011 and FY2012 and TDCJ-CJAD will continue to support Collin CSCD in efforts to reduce revocations to TDCJ.

Changes in Hidalgo CSCD’s felony direct and indirect population are more likely due to reporting changes rather than changes in the population.

Felony revocations to TDCJ for all CSCDs are detailed in Appendix C (p. 28).
The report warned that for diversion programs to succeed will require adequate funding for local probation departments, since:
positive steps taken toward reducing revocations to TDCJ also mean CSCDs are supervising a more challenging population. As successful offenders are rewarded with early termination, the population under supervision is increasingly comprised of offenders with greater risk and needs levels. In addition, the percentage of new placements to probation that are classified as medium or maximum risk to re-offend is increasing, meaning CSCDs must continue to target resources and treatment programming toward the offenders most at risk to re-offend.
In the 2012-2013 biennium, 85 counties reported using some sort of progressive sanction model in their local probation programming (see p. 23). Appendix A (p. 26) provides a good recent history of legislative changes related to adult probation programming.

See here (pdf) for the full report, which has a lot more detail that may interest those in the biz.


Anonymous said...

The secret to low revocation rates is a tough prosecutor who sends their asses up river without stopping at probation along the way.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That sounds good as an anonymous sound bite, 3:01, until one realizes that TDCJ released 77,000 people (see here, pdf, p. 12) last fiscal year, half again more than were incarcerated en toto when Ann Richards took office. People don't stay "up river" forever in the real world, which unfortunately for the Lege and local probation directors is where budgets are drawn up.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits,

Regarding the - declining of Probation Revocations & the Plea Bargaining 'TapOut' Rate - Since I don’t do vague, hold on to your hats folks or look away, the adults are talking. I'm looking forward to the Probation Officers' of Texas & former Probationers’ opinions regarding the Report's findings and if they are aware of the following factoid regarding ‘Methods’ utilized by the Defense to obtain a REVOCATION of their (P.Os’.) cases.

For some reason, the Report ignored / left out / ignored the documented fact that when the financially challenged (poor) human is arrested (GUILTY or NOT - does not matter) he / she: *stays in Jail, *is appointed a lawyer / attorney, *or is blessed with a poor family that pitches in to hire one. Since the 'Law' allows anyone with a degree to 'Dabble' in Criminal Law, it's no surprise that the unqualified will Fake-It / Wing-It resulting in Probation (Guilty or Not). WTF?

When Probationers' get arrested on new unrelated charges, the courts allow the Fakers & Shakers of Texas (aka: Plea & Flee crowd)to: *fumble their way through initial Felony / Misdemeanor consultations’ as REAL CDLs., *quote fees to defend and fight it all the way to a jury trial & verdict, *take down payments or be P.I.F., *do absolutely no investigation of any kind, file FAKE Pre-Trial Motions, file multiple "Ready for Trial" notices (despite the Motion's 'ORDERS' being ignored by the court) & spend the entire lunch recess trying to convince their client to stop the trial and suffer little or no consequences for the results of ‘DABBLERISM’. WTF?

On day one of any Jury Trial the Probationer is told - "Guilty or Not, you are going to prison just for being on PROBATION at time of arrest on a new unrelated charge. It was 'REVOKED' the minute you were arrested. I launched my own Post Conviction Investigation and learned that mine wasn't REVOKED until I signed the plea bargain papers in the judge's chambers during lunch recess.

So as you can see, REVOCATIONS' can be obtained via the defendant's very own criminal defense attorney / lawyer in efforts to avoid a JURY TRIAL beyond the crime victim taking the stand on day one. REVOCATIONS are not declining. They are just hiding / ignoring the fact that Probationers' are being tricked both: before & during Jury Trials into PLEA-BARGAINING. Anyone remember the 'Report' confirming that 90% + /- of the criminal cases in Texas ‘TappedOut’? WTF?

I'd like to see the numbers regarding this 90 % +/- Texas TapOut Rate & the REVOCATIONS’ related to Probationers' arrested on new unrelated charges’ being advised to avoid / stop jury trials in order to PLEA BARGAIN, simply because they were on probation. There's no way in hell I’m the only person in Texas to be tricked into REVOKING my own Probation during a jury trial. Always remember folks –“Nolo Contendere / No Contest is a GUILTY verdict in disguise" & Seeking Reforms vs. Revenge is harder than it looks. Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

TRG one thing you left out, when probatoiner gets a new arrest they are seldom tried for that offense. They are sentenced for the offense they already plead true and were placed on probation. So literally prosetutors regularly tell offenders, "if we go to trial on this new charge I am going to for maximaum time, OR you can just agree to do your time on the revocation." Defense attorneys telling them what a good deal they are getting all the way to the slammer. Wonder how many probationers were revoked for an offense they didn't commit?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Anny, thanks for pointing that out. (There's no shame in taking time to put your name on positive Comments / Replies de-void of insults and goofiness).

You are correct - "when probatoiner gets a new arrest they are seldom tried for that offense. They are sentenced for the offense they already plead true and were placed on probation."

Exactly! They (GUILTY or NOT) don't get the full blown right to a JURY TRIAL, due to the cowards that were allowed to infiltrate the Criminal Defense niche, turning it into a PLEA & FLEE industry. Ex: They get sentenced 5 years for the 5 years probation AND 5 or 10 years for avoiding / stopping a Jury Trial in order to PLEA BARGAIN / TapOut, which runs Concurrent.

*Disclaimer Tyme - There are probably five REAL CDLs' in Texas that'll fight to a verdict. There are absolutely zero attorney's / lawyers' that have publically denounced the invasion of the FAKE CDLs'. If you have? Then please consider repeating it here (with a link to prove it) and it doesn't count if you don't put your name on it. A REAL CDL is one that refuses to take cases that he / she has absolutely no experience and / or specific training in. A REAL CDL will not TapOut simply due to client being a probationer. A REAL CDL would not allow a Divorce / Estate specialist to impersonate him / her in a court of law.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

"Wonder how many probationers were revoked for an offense they didn't commit?"

Now, that's a good one and it deserves to be addressed. You can start your list with my name and you don't have to take my word on it. Due to being poor, I was advised to take / accept 5 years Adult Deferred Adjudication Probation with these words – “Take the five years, your family doesn’t have the money to fight this charge.” , “It’s your word against the police, who do you think will win?” With a 90% Texas TapOut Rate, there’s no way in hell I’m the only one that was REVOKED for an offense I didn’t commit. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Only an idiot pleads guilty to a crime they didnt commit. You have the same right to an attorney that anyone has. Instead of bitching behind a blog, take your ass to law school and see how much fun it is defending defendants who think they know the law better than those who practice it.

Anonymous said...

Been there...Only an idiot....or maybe a scared teenager with a mental disorder???

Attorneys are not always what they are supposed to be....having to plead guilty to be on probation is a really bad deal for a teen...who might have a real incident down the road....being 2nd or 3rd...going for 3 charges...bad news.

What recourse is there?

nicetry said...

to anon 2:03
you said:
Only an idiot pleads guilty to a crime they didnt commit. You have the same right to an attorney that anyone has. Instead of bitching behind a blog, take your ass to law school and see how much fun it is defending defendants who think they know the law better than those who practice it.

What a crock of shit, quit getting high on your own gas dude.

No one needs to go to law school to tell all their court appointed clients:
"say yes to everything,"
"You won't get a better deal than this and going to trial will cost you more money than taking this deal,"
Finally the real laborious part of being a court appointed lawyer "Sign here that you can affored to pay 10k per month in court ordered fees, if you don't they will send you up." Even though you only make $12.00/hr.