Sunday, May 1, 2011

Adult Probation Overview

As seen throughout the past few months, it is indisputable that the budget crisis is affecting every social service industry in Texas, one being the correctional system. There have been a lot of social concerns from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The TDCJ believes that these cuts will end up costing the state more money in the long run. With cuts to the education and re-entry programs that prisons have in place, the TDCJ sees the prisoners coming right back to prison because they were not properly helped with such a life-altering change. Ultimately costing the state more to put them back in the system. Certain cuts will be made that will not sit well with those in charge of the criminal justice system. 

The correctional budget is still ever changing and we will have to see if the concerns from the TDCJ will be taking into account when finalizing the bill. The below summary of the budget cuts are from a Dallas Morning News article. 

For sure cuts in the proposed bill…

  • About 550 layoffs: $4.6 million
  • Canceled treatment facility: $12 million
  • Not replacing equipment: $7.1 million
  • Improved information technology practices: $3.9 million
  • Cut unused treatment program funding: $3.7 million
  • Staffers’ housing: Correctional officers are also being charged at least 20 percent of fair market value for prison housing. Some housing had been free.

Some cuts still on the table are…

  • Close the Central Prison Unit near Sugar Land.
  • Raise employee health insurance costs.
  • Cut education and vocational programs for inmates.
  • Reduce substance abuse and mental health programs.
  • Charge inmates with money in commissary accounts $100 a year for health care.
  • Reduce prison release “pocket money” from $100 to $50.
  • Charge inmates for over-the-counter medications such as aspirin.
  • Charge correctional officers when they eat more than two meals per shift in the prison chow hall.

In closing, those who are interesting in keeping up with the Texas correctional system, I recommend following the Grits for Breakfast blog. This blog talks about the Texas criminal justice system at an interesting angle while sharing important information through articles and other websites. 

-Caroline Cardenas

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