In 2007, a bipartisan team of lawmakers developed policies to address the growing number of probation violators being sent to prison; their need for substance abuse and mental health treatment; and the low parole rate. Rather than spend $500 million on new prisons, the Legislature allocated $240 million for the 2008-2009 biennium to expand in-prison, residential and outpatient treatment, establish maximum parole caseloads, limit the length of probation for drug and property crimes, and provide funding to local corrections agencies for probation and parole supervision. Savings of $443 million in that biennium allowed funding for other areas of the budget that contribute to reducing crime and recidivism. Parole revocations have declined substantially and prison populations are at a five-year low. For the first time in the state’s history, Texas closed a prison in 2012.
HB 1 (2007) Appropriates funds to increase capacity for community-based residential and out-patient treatment, secure substance-abuse programs, in-prison therapeutic treatment and pretrial diversion mental health services.
HB 1678 (2007) Decreases the term of community supervision for certain property and drug related offenses. Requires court review of offenders on community supervision after serving a specified amount of time to consider if a reduction or termination of sentence is appropriate. Requires sentence credit for time served in a substance abuse treatment program, if successfully completed.
HB 3736 (2007) Establishes maximum parole officer caseloads based on the type of community supervision being provided.
SB 166 (2007) Creates a “progressive sanctions” community supervision grant program to provide funds to counties to implement supervision strategies designed to reduce prison revocation rates. Requires the use of an evidence-based assessment and a graduated sanctions and incentives process. Gives preference to counties that use a “progressive sanctions” model and target medium- and high-risk offenders.
Summaries of legislation from 2010 or newer can be found in NCSL’s Sentencing and Corrections Enactment Database.
Return to NCSL’s Justice Reinvestment State Resources page or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice program.