You know from reading the Lecture for Module 6 that Harris County, Texas has every reason to be concerned about many of the issues raised by Dr. Petersilia and your textbook in Chapter 10. You are the Governor`s advisor on matters of criminal justice. Write a 3-4 page report outlining a bold, new plan for reforming parole in Texas. Be a visionary. Drop your 12 font, double-spaced plan in the Assignment Drop Box. Incorporate the expert`s opinions (Petersilia`s and others mentioned in your text) in your plan to convince the Governor to champion reform. You can present your ideas in bullet points for this assignment, if you`d like. Be sure to incorporate ideas from both Petersilia and your textbook.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT TEXAS PAROLEHere are a few interesting figures about parole in Texas, found in the March 2004 Research Report prepared by the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center. The report is titled, “A Portrait of Prisoner Reentry in Texas.” The authors are Jamie Watson, Amy L. Solomon, Nancy G. LaVigne, Jeremy Travis, Meagan Funches, an Barbara Parthasarathy. A complete report is scheduled for 2005 and will be a part of a large cross-state analysis based on research also conducted in Maryland, Illinois, and Ohio.Between 1980 and 2001, the total number of Texas prisoners increased five-fold, from 28,543 to 151,003. The per capita rate of imprisonment in Texas went from 199 to 693 prisoners per 100,000 residents in that same time period. The growth in population is largely attributable to longer lengths of stay in prison. Prisoners were receiving longer sentences AND were serving more of their sentences (time served).Of the Texas prisoners released in 2001:They had been incarcerated, on average, 4.6 years after serving 57 % of their sentences. In 1993, released state prisoners had served 27% of their sentences.In 2001, those prisoners incarcerated in the Texas state jails (known as confinees) had served, on average, 11 months, 100% of their sentences. Confinees are prisoners convicted of a state jail felony offense and sentenced for no more than 2years in a state jail. State jails are operated by TDCJ or a private company in contract with TDCJ. Confinees receive no good time and no early release. Texas revised its criminal code in 1993 to create state jail felonies for low-level drug and property offenders. Most state jail felons receive probation.Falling parole approval rates contributed to the rise in prisoners’ time served. The parole approval rates went from 57% in 1988 to 25% in 2002.99% of the parolees returned to Texas communities.59% returned to 5 of Texas’s 254 counties.26% returned to Harris County, 15% to Dallas County, 8% to Tarrant County, 6% to Bexar County, and 4% to Travis County.23% of supervised releasees returned to Houston, concentrated in 5 neighborhoods.