Reform Texas the Texas Parole System Now sign now

Re: Legislative Proposals in the January 2009 Session

To whom it may concern:

I am calling for sensible economic practices within the Parole System of Texas which includes a more transparent, measurable and achievable parole process by the 2009 January session.

It is time to make this a priority as the system is not only unfair to those directly effected but is robbing law abiding citizens of funds that could be used in a more cost effective manner.

When Texas Teachers are being laid off and we are losing other valuable services because the state and cities do not have enough money to pay for them re-examining every aspect of government is important. Prisoners who have long reformed and are eligible for parole sit in their cells at tax payers expense and a good number of their families are having to rely on assistance to make up for the lost income of their incarcerated head of household. Their communities where incarceration is more prevalent are also losing out on the taxes paid on the wages generated by the employment of those eligible for parole. The state on a whole suffers when it insists on holding people down as part with poor parole practices.

It is fair to say the system is broken. Everything is connected. Because of unfair parole practices the law abiding citizens are losing services and prisons are facing a prison overflow crisis. Something must be done.

According to a 2005 report quarter-century ago, Texas prisons could accommodate fewer than 27,000 inmates. Today, with room for more than 155,000 inmates, the Texas prison system is, by design, the nation's largest and is deemed over crowded and understaffed. I feel sure these costs and numbers are on the rise.

A new 2,250-bed unit with a building for administrative-segregation offenders would cost just under $200 million, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
After a prison is built, each inmate it houses costs the state more than $14,600 annually assuming they are in good health. However due to unresolved parole issues more and more inmates are staying into their senior years costing much more in medical costs and medication for age related disease. Due to long sentences these numbers will grow and costs will rise exponentially as the prison population grow old.
Economically it makes sense to fix the parole process making it more transparent and achievable by those incarcerated.
I realize prisoners are the exception to the thirteenth amendment abolishing slavery and a large amount of capitol is raised by the work generated by the incarceration of people who broke the law however, in the United States of America I hope our legislators are not swayed by publicly held entities to the point they allow slavery for state and corporate profit. It would be criminal to keep people incarcerated to benefit these companies by enslaving Americans past what would be considered decent sentences.
In the interest of tax payer needs, the good of the country and the good of people who have changed their lives for the better while behind bars I encourage you to make changes that are intelligent and practical and financially sound while insuring the safety of your constituents.
Limit the power of the parole board members.

Press for transparency and set standards of conduct that are measurable and achievable by prisoners so they know exactly what is expected of them.
Allow prisoners access to their parole files so prisoners and the public know exactly why they have been denied and exactly what they can do to make parole a viable option.

At present prisoners are not allowed to view the files reviewed by the parole board. This allows for a vail of secrecy unprecedented in all other areas of American life. It is impossible for anyone to know if they have been falsely or wrongly accused of a transgression while incarcerated, information has been erroneously placed in the file that actually belongs to another inmate or that classes have been attended and parole plans made that have been stipulated as part of their parole process or that their parole has been thwarted by a campaign by others.
While prisoners are allowed to ask for a special review under two circumstances.
Violation of rules
New evidence
Prisoners are not allowed to see their files to know if rules have been violated and if evidence that would prove their worthiness for the privilege of parole are actually in the file so how can they effectively ask for a review and be sure that they have been turned down for good cause?
I am in favor of the two following Legislative Proposals in the January session

2009 Session:

A new sentencing policy retroactive to include those currently incarcerated where parole would be automatic upon completion of maximum term of 15 calendar years.
All offenders have a Texas Department of Criminal Justice ( TDCJ) calculated date which is the parole eligibility date. Offenders having met their Inmate Treatment Plan (ITP) would automatically make parole on their eligible TDCJ calculated date.
Good Time must be calculated and used to achieve parole or financial compensation for their work will be granted. At present it is awarded but discounted as part of the parole process.

I believe that this is possible as these laws have passed in other states. The time for change is 2009.

Best Regards,

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  • 24 November 2015685. Beth P
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Meagan TownsendBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Texas State Senate


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