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April 16, 1998     (512) 463-0300

LEGISLATORS GAIN INSIGHT INTO TEXAS CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

AUSTIN - On Thursday, April 16, members of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee met at the state capitol for a public hearing regarding several of the Interim charges. The committee focused discussions on the current implementations of the Rehabilitation Tier of Treatment Programs in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and super-intensive parole supervision. The hearing included both invited and public testimony.

Senator John Whitmire of Houston chairs the committee and members include Senators Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, Florence Shapiro of Plano, and Royce West of Dallas.

Those invited to testify included the executive directors of both the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) as well as the Chair of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Testimony given informed the committee that the Rehabilitation Tier allows the TDCJ to designate specific programs to further the rehabilitation of inmates and to serve as a measure of performance. Programs offered include pre-release therapeutic community programs, faith based programs, pre-release substance abuse programs, and treatments for sex offenders. Other testimony given provided the senators with the cost-effectiveness of these treatment programs, issues that negatively impact the programs, as well as perspectives that show the programs' impacts when implemented.

The committee will gather its findings and present their report to the 76th Legislature when it convenes in January of next year.

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