PRESS RELEASE
from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2008
Contact: Jody Withers
512-463-0130

Senator Craig Estes Praises Parole Board, Local Officials, and Community in Stopping Proposed Halfway House

Austin - State Senator Craig Estes (Wichita Falls-R) is pleased with the cooperation of the Texas Parole Board in working with his office, Grayson County officials, and community activists in stopping the proposed Mission Gate Ministries halfway house on Harrell Road outside of Howe.

"I want to personally thank the Texas Parole Board for agreeing not to sanction the proposed halfway house near Howe for use by Texas or out-of-state parolees," said Estes. "I also want to credit my colleague State Representative Larry Phillips, Commissioner Johnny Waldrip and other Grayson County officials, and members of the community for their hard work in resolving this issue."

Estes worked with Representative Phillips, state agencies, and local officials to find a solution to stop this halfway house from opening operations. Estes also said his office had been informed that Mission Gate Ministries is likely to accept a community buyback offer for the property holding the proposed halfway house.

"I think a lot of the credit goes to the community for banding together in a common cause, and formulating a reasonable argument against this facility and presenting that case to their public officials," said Estes.

Estes also reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the state laws lacking in regulating these facilities, including requirements for any persons working as supervisors or staff at halfway houses when the Legislature convenes again in January 2009.

"While I agree with the overall goal of assisting parolees in their transition back into civilized society, we cannot ignore the obvious threats to public safety posed by these types of facilities with little or no oversight," said Estes. "I look forward to working with officials at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Parole Board, and other state agencies in crafting a common-sense set of rules covering these facilities, supervisors, and parolees."

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