Tuesday, February 23, 2021

#Txlege should use savings from closed prison units to fund needed treatment services

The Texas Legislative Budge Board has "Recommended funding maintains correctional security operations, with a decrease totaling $148 million, primarily related to recent facility closures and 2020–21 repair/renovation projects."

Grits is glad for more prison closures, but it's a mistake simply to reduce the budget by the amount of those units' costs. TDCJ has significant unfilled needs that those savings should pay for. 

One of the biggest: The agency doesn't fund treatment service sufficiently so that thousands of people are approved for parole but must remain in prison until they complete any required treatment. TDCJ doesn't enroll them in treatment until after they're approved for parole.

At any given time, there are around 15,000 people in TDCJ who've already been paroled but can't be released until they've completed treatment. If TDCJ paid for treatment BEFORE people were approved for parole, when they're approved they could leave prison immediately. This would further reduce the prison population and allow even more units to be closed, resulting in even more savings down the line.

The $148 million savings projected would go a long way toward solving this issue, resulting in less incarceration and greater savings down the line. From a management perspective, it should be a no-brainer.

UPDATE: Just Liberty is walking around at the capitol promoting the idea of shifting money to fund these treatment services and to spend a little more on the prisoner food budget, which has been slashed in recent years. Here's the flyer we're distributing.


Anonymous said...

My comment is concerning the Criminal Justice System. What is your personal opinion of HB 1598 Independent Oversight and HB1805? Do you think HB1805 Earned Time Credit will pass this year I see Zillions of $$$$$$$$$$ coming from HB1805. These inmates deserve a second chance.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The fact is passing ANY bill at the Texas Legislature is difficult, and all are more likely to fail than to pass, whatever the topic. That's not an assessment of the merits, it's the mathematics of the system, which is designed to kill bills, not pass them. Both those bills should have more momentum this time, but it's also a weird year with the rona, the Snowpocalypse, etc.. All I can say is to try. Can't never could.

abileneangel said...

Even more TDCJ money could be saved if the Littlefield Civil Commitment Center were to be closed. The name treatment center is a misnomer if there ever were one. Since the inception of the use of civil commitment in 1999 no one has been released in the great State of Texas. This does not speak well of the treatment and/or treatments utilized. Maybe further investigation should be made of the providers for treatment and the methods used to treat (inmates) patients, clients or whatever is the current politically correct term for men who have served their court ordered sentences only to be moved to a housing unit and described as people with behavior abnormality; a term not used in the DSM book of psychiatric medicine. Texas taxpayers should know how their hard earned money is used to incarcerate people for the rest of their lives. Only sex offenders are sent to Civil Commitment.
Those under treatment in the center must wear ankle monitors and if the inmate has money he must pay for the monitor even though he is not permitted to leave the unit at anytime and is surrounded with razor wire fencing and perimeter guards with weapons. Guards inside carry pepper spray. The inmate is also listed on a sex registry in Littlefield with the address of the. as though he was a freed man.

Anonymous said...

I believe any inmate deserves a second chance for being parole, simply because the working inmates do not get paid for labor and it is cruel punishment when an inmate has been working over 25 years, taking all the classes, and has not gotten any additional cases in 25 years. The parole board always denied them parole because of the ''NATURE OF THE Offense'', that will never change. Release them so they can get a job and pay taxes, making the state make money. Any dummy on the parole board should be replaced because they are not doing the job they are paid for.!!! Texas is a disgrace, feeding inmate hog food. I have a lot of relatives in Texas who work in good-paying jobs and they are beginning to vote blue because they also believe in second chances. Now that a severe storm has hit Texas, and their heating bills have gotten higher than other states, they are now planning on moving to another state,

Unknown said...

What the legislators the Texas Board of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) and TDCJ too administrators could do to save millions of tax dollars is take a close look at revising the law that provides free legal representation to TDCJ employees(including those former and/or knowingly corruption employees) plus put the brakes on the pork barrel legal defense spending by TDCJ administrators, AG Greg Abbott and his Law Enforcement Defense Division (LEDD)on unwinnable prisoner lawsuit like my 9year old civil lawsuit .

My name is Lakeith Amir-Sharif("Sharif"). For nearly 15 years up until December 10, 2019 I was known by TDCJ #1505965. My family and I have been involved in a lot of civil litigation and other actions during my incarceration- e.g., the Extreme Heat Federal Lawsuit; letter writing campaigns, call-ins, demonstrations- to address the ongoing unconstitutional conditions of confinement and the unlawful/criminal activities of TDCJ employees that prevails to this day behind TDCJ prison walls.

The comments I made about additional ways to save money is based on my story involving the inexplicable squandering of Texas taxpayer's hard earned money and the extreme measures the TDCI'd top officials and AG Greg Abbot and his Law Enforcement Defense Division (LEDD) Office has/will/are going to for the purpose of keeping secret their wasteful spending on legal defenses and their criminal actions of punishing those they perceived as a threat to their absolute power (I.e. writer writers, prisoner & human rights advocates) a secret.

There has been no transparency nor accountability by AG Greg Abbott,nor his LEDD staff and his cronies within the TDCJ.

The behind-the-scene activities in Greg Abbott's office and at TDCJ Headquarters dates back 9 year to a non frivolous lawsuit I filed. Although there is no rational explanation for it, my state court lawsuit has costed Texas taxpayers over 150k (and still counting)

It's time that the public hear about these sort of incidents because they have a right to know since their tax dollars entitles all of them the right to demand accountability and transparency within the TDCJ and the office of AG Gangster Greg Abbott's office.