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In its annual statistical summary made public earlier this week, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles shows the rate at which convicts are freed early under supervision has continued a year upswing — creeping up to 31 percent in At the same time, the number of felons who are having their paroles revoked and being sent back to prison has dropped to just 6, inor Parole Board Chairwoman Rissie Owens attributed the trends to new treatment and rehabilitation programs that are available for parole-bound convicts, and enhanced supervision and screening programs.
But perhaps the most revealing detail comes in the summaries of how each of the seven board members and 12 parole commissioners votes on approving or denying the release of convicts from prison.
Fifteen of the 22 officials listed have a higher approval rate than the board's overall average, according to the report. The highest percentage of approvals: San Antonio board member Juanita Gonzales, a longtime board member and former probation officer, who approved Amarillo Parole Commissioner Charles Shipman, a former parole officer and policeman, who approved just Harry Battson, the board's spokesman, said the voting records can be deceiving, because 40 different combinations of three-member panels votes on cases that involve different types of convicts.
Statistically, Owens is the most liberal at awarding paroles, granting early release in But Owens votes only on certain cases involving serious crimes, those that require five votes for approval, instead of just two required in other cases.
And she votes last, officials said. Even so, at an agency that is one of the most secretive by state law — its files are secret and its deliberations are secret, with only the outcomes eventually made public — the voting numbers provide a rare glimpse of the inner workings of a government board whose decisions can affect public safety.
In other states, parole board records, meeting, even deliberations, are handled in public. So how do Texas parole board members and commissioners decide their votes?
No comment, Battson said. Longtime Huntsville parole attorney Bill Habern said that attitude is typical. Contact Mike Ward at Twitter: Sunset May Shift Parolee Supervision Back To Parole Board" Grits can see the potential wisdom on both sides of the merger suggestion, but Ward took away from last week's hearing a much stronger sense than I did that the Sunset process might undertake a merger to resolve the "communications" issues identified by Rep.
Bonnen and other legislators. June 11, More than 20 years after Texas limited the responsibilities of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to approving or denying cases not supervising parole officers or parolees a new state report is sparking debate about whether to expand the agency's duties again.
Such a change, if approved, would be the biggest shift in Texas' corrections system in decades — and the idea has sparked a turf war between the parole board and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which runs state prisons and currently supervises parole officers.
Texas has more than 75, men and women on parole, one of the largest such systems in the United States. Although parole decisions and cases generally are not public, several examples have surfaced in the past year in which the parole board voted to impose restrictions on convicts as a condition of their release, and then a parole officer later modified or removed that condition without the parole board ever knowing about it.
In other cases, restrictions were imposed on parolees by the parole division without the parole board approving. The solution is to unify the roles of the two agencies and have one captain in charge of the ship. The Sunset Commission — which periodically reviews agencies to determine if they should be reauthorized, reconfigured or discontinued — recommended that no changes be made.
The "analysis did not find significant problems, certainly none large enough to recommend dismantling the functions, nor were there significant cost savings related to an alternative structure," according to the commission's report.
The report found that most of the problems stemmed from poor communication between the agencies and urged the agencies' managers to resolve those problems.
Beforethe parole board was totally in charge of the state's parole process — supervising parole officers who supervised the parolees, as a separate agency with a separate budget and mission from the prison system, then known as the Texas Department of Corrections.
That year, to create what was then termed a "seamless" system of criminal justice, the Legislature put parole officers under the new Texas Department of Criminal Justice and left the parole board — a separate agency created by the Texas Constitution — as a scaled-down entity that voted on paroles and clemency requests.
Continuing issues between parole and prison officials have played out several times in courtrooms, where judges have criticized the two agencies for making overlapping and sometimes contradictory decisions about the conditions of parole for a convict.
The agencies have also been blasted for taking conflicting legal positions on convicts' rights to a parole hearings. The Sunset Commission's governing board, made up of 10 lawmakers and two citizen members, is expected to vote on the staff report in September.
The parole board makes the tough decisions, and the parole division of another agency monitors and supervises those decisions," said Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, D-Houston, a member of the Sunset Commission.
I'm listening, but I haven't been convinced that we should undo the consolidation we did in May 31, Eroy Brown, whose acquittal on murder charges involving the deaths of a prison warden and a farm manager in the s shook Texas' corrections system to its roots, has been approved for parole after nearly three decades behind bars.
No date for the release has been set. InBrown was sentenced to 90 years as a habitual criminal; he had two previous felonies — a burglary and a robbery dating back to the s.
In recent years, Brown has been serving his time in a South Carolina prison because a federal judge thought his safety could not be guaranteed in a Texas lockup.October 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. Accent Resume writing has been writing professional resumes that work since We can gear your documents towards the career you want to help you achieve it!
Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club – November 15 – Gary Polland and Election of Board Please join us to hear from this week’s featured speaker, former HCRP Chairman Gary Polland, and help us elect our Board.
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