After decades of being “tough on crime,” Texas opens up to smarter approaches and criminal justice reform.
History of Legislation:
Texas passes the habitual offenders statute stating that an offender who has been found guilty of a third felony must be sentenced to no less than 25 years imprisonment.
HB 1396 included several provisions including raising property threshold amounts that trigger felony theft offenses for a range of criminal code violations.
HB 1083 requires the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to conduct a mental health assessment of people prior to sending them to administrative segregation. The department may not send assessed people to segregation if the examining medical or mental health professional finds that such a placement is unsuitable.
HB 1546 revises the awarding of time credits for participation in educational, vocational, or treatment programming for people incarcerated on state jail felonies. Under the new law, a court may make a finding at sentencing that a person sentenced for a state jail felony is presumptively entitled to earned time credit and the Department of Criminal Justice (DCJ) may then award the credit once earned. If the judgment does not find presumptive eligibility for earned credit, the DCJ may report information regarding a person’s participation in eligible programming for the court’s consideration, and the court may decide whether to award earned time credit.
SB 578 requires the State Department of Criminal Justice to create a county-specific resource guide detailing organizations that provide reentry and reintegration assistance. The resource guide will be publicly available to all inmates and the public.
- Average annual cost per inmate= $21,390
- Total cost of prisons= $3.3 billion
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice budget= $2.5 billion
State Population: 26.96 million people
Incarcerated Population: 142,674 people
You can do several things to work toward reforming your state’s sentencing laws – go to our get involved page to find out how.
March 17, 2017
Originally seen in Kera News There’s not much Republicans and Democrats seem to agree on in Austin these days, but criminal justice reform is one area that has found bipartisan support over the past decade. This year, lawmakers have introduced scores of proposals intended to improve the way police, courts, jails and prisons do business in… Read more »
March 6, 2017
Originally seen in The Huffington Post. Beginning on Wednesday, people who are caught with small amounts of marijuana in Harris County, Texas, will no longer earn a trip to jail. Under the new policy, announced last month, police in Texas’ most populous county will instead offer four-hour drug education classes to anybody found with less… Read more »
March 3, 2017
Complete article found via Caller Times The United States is home to the largest prison population on earth. Many prisoners are there on nonviolent drug charges. These individuals do not necessarily present an imminent danger to society. The danger to our society lies in our unsustainable incarceration rate, with overflowing prisons, and hardworking taxpayers footing the… Read more »
March 2, 2017
When police discovered drugs in his car and arrested him, Jeff finally found the strength to clean up his act and get sober while he was out on bond. Sentenced to nearly six years, Jeff is working hard in prison to stay sober and help other men find the peace that he has. “I successfully… Read more »