Thursday, October 05, 2017

Declines in TX recidivism led by parole success

Texas' recidivism rates are declining, according to this publication from the Council of State Governments Justice Center. According to them, parole revocations are down 33 percent since 2007, re-incarceration rates are down 25 percent, and rearrest rates are down 6 percent.

Reduced parole revocations are clearly the biggest success (and account for a big chunk of the decline in re-incarceration, as well). The document attributes those reductions to Texas' landmark legislation in 2007 which "Enhanced the use of parole for people at a low risk of reoffending and expanded the capacity of treatment and diversion programs," and "Expanded the capacity of substance use treatment programs and the use of intermediate sanction facilities to divert people from prison."

By contrast, probation revocations remained high. That same 2007 legislation included grants which were supposed to "Incentiviz[e] counties to create progressive sanctioning models for effective responses on probation." Some supposedly did, but unlike on the parole side, it didn't result in reduced revocations. Grits believes that's in part because the grants weren't structured to reduce if the desired outcomes weren't achieved. They just became part of probation departments' baseline funding, not an "incentive" to change behavior.

If Texas could figure out how to reduce probation revocations to the same extent we have for parole, we could close quite a few more prisons and save taxpayers a small fortune.

RELATED: See Texas' official recidivism data from the Legislative Budget Board.


Anonymous said...

Yes, "Clearly shows" decline in recidivism

Anonymous said...

I would like to know "who" these supposed programs helped. My husband had ZERO help, was put in AA classes but never was an alcoholic and didn't get any help with finding a job, help for PTSD ,etc...because I supposedly was above the median income at the time I was the only one who HELPED him. All these reports the government puts out are bogus and filled with lies to support whatever agenda they have at the time. Just like the unemployment rate accounts for only those seeking unemployment...not the actual unemployment rate.

Anonymous said...

...If Texas could figure out how to reduce probation revocations to the same extent we have for parole, we could close quite a few more prisons and save taxpayers a small fortune.

"I believe"
-a parole officer starting salary is $40,000, a probation officer dreams of making $40,00 after 10 years of service
-the average parole officer caseload is 1/4 the size of an average probation officer caseload
-the decision process to revoke parole does not involve prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys
-Parole has very stable funding through TDCJ, Probation funding is very unstable dependence upon offender payments to operate a department.

These are just a couple of minor insignificant differences I am sure you took time to carefully consider before comparing parole to probation.

Anonymous said...

Good points 10:06:00 AM

Anonymous said...

What is the benefit of Texas keeping the probation departments under each individual county as opposed to a statewide agency?

The sometimes completely different conditions from county to county can't help with finding the root cause in revocation numbers.

Anonymous said...

The drawbacks outweigh the benefits if any:

1)State would not be able afford to pay for a centralized probation system at the same level it funds parole.
2)Two different levels of courts are being served by probation; county courts and district courts. Doubt very seriously that the State would be willing to fund serving misdemeanor courts.

The different conditions from county to county doesn't go away by centralizing or decentralizing probation.

Anonymous said...

When offenders receive plea bargains of a day in jail on a misdemeanor revocation, reduced state jail sentences to county jail time, complying with probation and attending rehabilitation programs lacks any incentive for the offender. Wouldn't you just take a day or 30 days and "be off paper"? Probation officers do not make revocation decisions.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Probationer, you've had six positive UAs for meth in the last 8 months. We've tried outpatient counseling and you continue to have positive UAs. We need to send you to residential treatment at a community corrections facility (CCF) or SAFPF."

"How long will that take?"

"The CCF program is about 9 months long, plus you'll have 3 - 6 months of aftercare counseling. The SAFPF lasts for 6 months, and then there's 3 months at a Transitional Treatment Center, and outpatient counseling after that."

"What if I refuse to go to either of those?"

"Well, we can't have you continue to use while you're on probation. It's like thumbing your nose at the court. We'll have to file a motion to revoke your probation."

"Okay, I spent four months in county jail waiting for my sentence to probation. If you file a motion to revoke, I'll probably spend another three or four months in county jail waiting for that to be heard. I was sentenced to one year in state jail, probated for 3 years. If I just go do my time at state jail at TDCJ, I'll get credit for the time I've spent in county jail and I'll be out in less time than I'll spend in treatment. Moreover, I won't have fees, fines, or restitution to pay, no UAs, and no one will be looking over my shoulder. So, no thank you for treatment. Just revoke me and let me do my time."

Want to know why probation revocation rates are high? This is a scenario that happens time after time after time.

Anonymous said...

So what about making all probation deferred?

Why spend more time in "treatment" when you can complete your sentence in less time sitting in jail. You'll be a felon either way when it's over.

At least this way compliance gets you something. If you'd rather go sit your time then go straight to prison.