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Council of State Governments Justice Reinvestment in Tx 2009

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March 2009

justice reinvestment in texas

Assessing the Impact
of the 2007 Justice
Reinvestment Initiative

W

HEN THE 80TH SESSION OF THE
Texas Legislature convened in 2007,
elected officials faced a major dilemma:
spend a half billion dollars to build and operate
new prisons to accommodate the surging number
of people expected to be incarcerated or explore
options to control that growth. A bipartisan group
of legislative leaders commissioned the Council of
State Governments Justice Center (“Justice Center”) to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the
state’s prison population. The data collected were
used to shape a series of policies that avoided the
need to build more prisons and allowed for the
reinvestment of roughly half the funds earmarked
for prison construction toward a range of strategies designed to increase public safety and reduce
recidivism.
This report reviews the situation the legislature
faced in 2007; the policies lawmakers enacted;
the extent to which policies enacted in 2007 have
been implemented; trends in the prison, parole,
and probation population since 2007; projections
for the prison population beyond 2009; and the
challenges the 81st Session of the Texas Legislature
faces as it convenes in 2009.
This bulletin is part of a series for state policy­
makers interested in following what happened
in states that applied a justice reinvestment
strategy to increase public safety and reduce
spending on corrections. Beginning in 2005, Texas

policymakers worked with the Council of State
Governments Justice Center, and with the support
of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component
of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Public
Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable
Trusts’ Center on the States, to pursue a justice
reinvestment strategy.
The report highlights the following findings:
•	 In 2007, the legislature rejected plans to spend
$523 million in additional prison construction
and operations and instead, through its Justice
Reinvestment Initiative, appropriated $241
million to expand the capacity of substance
abuse, mental health, and intermediate sanction
facilities and programs that focused on people
under supervision who would otherwise likely
be revoked to prison.
•	 Since the enactment of the reinvestment
initiative, the expansion of prison-based
programs and some outpatient services has
been mostly on track, but a number of beds
in residential substance abuse treatment or
intermediate sanction facilities are not yet
operational. Communities have resisted the
placement of non-secure treatment facilities,
and few vendors have bid for the contracts.
State officials remain confident they can
address these challenges by the end of 2009 as
recent strategies have resulted in more positive

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

1

responses to the expansion of these residential
options.
•	 From January 2007 to December 2008, the
Texas prison population increased by only
529 individuals; the projected increase for
that period at the beginning of the 2007
legislative session was 5,141 individuals if the
justice reinvestment strategies had not been
implemented.1
•	 Between 2006 and 2008, probation revocations
to prison declined by 4 percent and parole
revocations to prison plummeted 25 percent.
During this same period, the parole board’s rate
of approvals for supervised releases rose from
26 percent to 31 percent.
•	 The increased availability of treatment and
intermediate sanction facilities – made possible
through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative –
has facilitated the reduction in revocations and
the enhanced use of parole.
•	 Although the state’s nonpartisan Legislative
Budget Board projected in 2007, before the
enactment of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative,
that the prison population would grow by
approximately 17,000 people over five years,
it now projects relatively minimal growth. No
shortfall in capacity is predicted until 2013,
when the system will need approximately
1,300 beds.
•	 State revenue shortfalls projected for the 2010–
11 budget could cause some strategies enacted
through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to
be scaled back. Such action by the legislature
in 2009, however, would likely restart prison
population growth, and, as a result, in 2011 the
legislature may again need to appropriate funds
for new prison construction. State leaders are
aware of this fact and are being careful about
substantially scaling back the initiative.

1. Legislative Budget Board, “January 2007 Projection
Report,” 2007. Legislative Budget Board, “LBB Tracking
Spreadsheet: TDCJ Population Report,” 2008.
2. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Legislative
Appropriations Request, Fiscal Years 2008–2009,
August 2007.

2

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

Texas’s Growing Prison
Population in 2007
In January 2007, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Budget Board (LBB), which is charged with
issuing an annual projection of the Texas prison
population, predicted significant growth. It
estimated the need for 17,000 additional prison
beds, requiring new construction before 2012 at a
minimum cost of $2 billion. Based on this official estimate, the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ) submitted a budget request for the
FY 2008–09 biennium of $523 million to build
additional prisons and an additional $184 million
in “emergency” contracted capacity to rent detention space in county jails.2
A bipartisan group of legislative leaders, led by
Senator John Whitmire (D), Chair of the Senate
Criminal Justice Committee, and Representative
Jerry Madden (R), Chair of the House Corrections Committee, sought to examine why the
state’s prison population continued to grow. They
requested technical assistance from the Justice
Center to analyze corrections data and assist in
developing policy options that could achieve costeffective increases in public safety and control the
size of the prison population.3
The Justice Center’s analysis found that the
increase in the prison population (both recent
and projected) significantly outpaced the growth
in the state’s resident population. The Justice
Center focused on three factors contributing to
the buildup of the prison population:
1)	 Increased probation revocations. Between
1997 and 2006, the number of people revoked
from probation to prison increased 18 percent,
despite a 3 percent decline in the probation
population.

3. The analysis and policy options were presented in
different policy briefs by the Justice Center. A summary
of the work is in the September 2007 publication Justice
Reinvestment in Texas: A Case Study at www.justicecenter.
csg.org.

2)	 Reduced capacity of residential treatment
programs serving people on probation and
parole. Reductions in funding for communitybased substance abuse and mental health
services during the 2003 legislative session
forced the closure of various treatment
programs and facilities. By 2006, more than
2,000 individuals were awaiting placement in
such programs and facilities.
3)	 Fewer approvals for parole. Parole grant rates
were lower than even those suggested by the
parole board’s own guidelines. For example,
had the parole board adhered to its minimum
approval rates for low-risk individuals, an
additional 2,252 releases would have been
made from prison to community supervision
in 2005.

Description of the Justice
Reinvestment Initiative
Enacted in 2007
Senator John Whitmire and Representative Jerry
Madden worked with their colleagues and the
Justice Center to develop a justice reinvestment
initiative that would address these three drivers
of prison growth, generate savings to the state,
and reinvest in strategies that could improve
public safety by reducing recidivism. In May
2007, the Texas legislature adopted, and the
governor approved, a budget that included greater
treatment capacity in the prison system and the
expansion of diversion options in the probation
and parole system. A total of 4,500 new diversion
beds and 5,200 new program slots were funded.4
At the end of the 2007 legislative session, the LBB
projected that the justice reinvestment policies, if
adopted and implemented, would cause the prison

4. Figure 2 as presented in Council of State Governments
Justice Center, September 2007. Justice Reinvestment Texas:
A Case Study, cited above.
5. Legislative Budget Board, Adult and Juvenile
Correctional Population Projections, January 2008 and
June 2008, http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/PubSafety_
CrimJustice/PubSafety_CrimJustice.htm#.

population to stabilize and would result in no
significant shortfall in the prison system capacity
by 2012. Subsequent projections completed in
January 2008 and June 2008 were consistent with
these projections.5
The final budget adopted by the legislature for
the 2008–2009 biennium reflected an increase of
$241 million in funding for additional diversion
and treatment capacity. The expansion of these
programs translated into a net savings of $443.9
million in the FY 2008–09 budget by reducing
funding for contracted bed space and canceling
funding for the construction of the new prison
units originally proposed.6

Implementation of the 2007
Justice Reinvestment Initiative
The extent to which components of the 2007
Justice Reinvestment Initiative were implemented
by December 2008 varied considerably.
Although the expansion of prison-based
programs and some outpatient services is on
track, plans to increase the capacity of some residential treatment facilities are behind schedule.
Particularly, the requests for proposals that TDCJ
issued for Transitional Treatment Centers (TTCs)
for residential treatment on reentry into the
community from an institutional program generated few responses. The underwhelming interest
does not appear to be related to the rates TDCJ
offered to pay; the request for proposals (RFPs)
stated the agency would be willing to negotiate per
diem rates for these facilities. Instead, two challenges in particular appear to have discouraged
vendors from submitting proposals.
First, contractors report having an insufficient
number of certified counselors to make available

6. Council of State Governments Justice Center,
September 2007. Justice Reinvestment Texas: A Case Study
www.justicecenter.csg.org. The savings represent
the difference between the original request for
appropriations by the administration and the final
adopted plan and do not consider potential future
savings or cost-avoidance due to the impact of the plan
on the projected prison bed shortfall and reductions in
recidivism.

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

3

Table 1: Implementation Status of the Texas 2007 Justice
Reinvestment Initiative

Program

2007 Legislative
Increase in
Funding/Size

Probation
Outpatient
Treatment

$10 million

Mental Health
Pre-Trial
Diversion

$10 million

State Jail
Treatment

$5.8 million

In-Prison
Therapeutic
Community
(IPTC)

$21.7 million

DWI Prison
Treatment

$22.2 million

Probation
Residential
Treatment

$32.2 million

Parole Halfway
Houses

$5.6 million

Substance
Abuse Felony
Punishment
(SAFP)

$63.1 million

3,000 slots

1,500 slots

1,200 slots
1,000 slots

500 beds

800 beds

300 beds

1,500 beds

Description

Status as of
January 2009

Probation outpatient substance abuse treatment
under contract or by probation department

All funding distributed
to local probation
departments for the
services

Mental health treatment funding dedicated to
encouraging pre-trial release of mentally ill offenders

All funding distributed
to local authorities for
the services

Substance abuse treatment in state jail facilities
housing low-level property and drug offenders

Operational

The program provides intensive substance abuse
treatment services to offenders in prison and postrelease. The 6-month in-prison phase is followed by
3 months in a TTC in the community, and 3 to 9
months of outpatient counseling. The parole board
uses the program as a condition for the release of
offenders who need substance abuse treatment.

Operational

A prison facility dedicated to providing offenders
convicted of DWI offenses with a 6-month substance
abuse treatment program.

Operational

Residential treatment facilities provide substance
abuse treatment, counseling, and rehabilitation
services. Programs range from 3 to 12 months.

752 beds operational
(84% operational) with
48 beds pending

Halfway houses are used for offenders approved
for prison release who need transitional housing
contingent upon a suitable residence plan. The
average length of stay in a halfway house is 90 days.

200 operational with
100 pending in late
2009

The program provides intensive residential substance
abuse treatment services to offenders on probation
who are violating the conditions of their supervision
due to substance abuse problems. The program
involves treatment in a secure facility for 6 months,
followed by 3 months in a TTC in the community,
and 3 to 9 months of outpatient counseling. This
program is also available to parolees, but most of the
capacity is used for probationers.

704 beds operational
(47% operational) with
796 pending in 2009
and 2010.
236 of pending will
be operational in
April 2009 and 560 in
September 2009
100% operational by
September 2009

Transitional
Treatment
Centers (TTCs)

After-care funding
included in
institutional
programs above
1,250 beds

Residential facilities dedicated to providing
transitional treatment for up to 6 months for
offenders participating in any of the institutional
treatment programs such as the IPTCs and SAFPs.

312 beds operational
(25% operational) with
938 pending or pending
program restructuring

Intermediate
Sanction
Facilities
(ISFs), Parole/
Probation

$28.7 million

ISFs are secure facilities that serve as detention
centers for offenders violating the conditions of their
supervision (“technical violations”). These facilities
are used to sanction offenders in lieu of a revocation
to prison. The average length of stay is 60 days.

309 beds operational
(22% operational) with
1,091 fully operational
by August 2010

4

1,400 beds

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

the services the RFPs contemplate. Second,
state officials and private contractors have had
little success securing community approval for
the establishment of new – or the expansion
of existing – non-secure residential treatment
facilities, particularly smaller ones located in
urban areas. Texas law requires public hearings
and approval by county and city officials before
correctional residential centers are located or
expanded in a county or city, and community
leaders have been outspoken in their opposition
to the delivery of these services in their
neighborhoods.
For example, the City of Amarillo opposed the
proposal of a residential substance abuse treatment center – even though it was located in a
light-industrial zone.7 In El Paso, where elected
officials have historically supported alternatives
to incarceration, leaders successfully opposed the
expansion of an existing halfway house.8 Finally,
in Austin, which is widely seen as especially
accepting of alternatives to incarceration, the
local probation department abandoned attempts
to expand a treatment counseling center near the
downtown area after running into strong opposition among neighborhood leaders.9
TDCJ continues to pursue strategies to
have the rest of the facilities operational by late
2009 and 2010. It also is developing an intense
outpatient treatment transition program in
response to the shortage in TTC beds.

Prison Population Trends
2007–2009
Despite the challenges of expanding residential
treatment, the legislature’s 2007 initiative appears
to be helping to stabilize the growth of the Texas
prison population. The increase in treatment
capacity and intermediate sanction facilities
funded by the initiative has helped to increase

7. “Rehabilitation Center Shot Down” at http://www.
amarillo.com/stories/040208/new_10009429.shtml,
April 2, 2008.
8. “200 new beds headed to halfway house near Sparks,”
www.kvia.com, April 3, 2008.

the number of people on probation connected to
services and reduce the number revoked to prison.
The legislation’s in-prison program resources
have reduced delays in parole release, enabling
the parole board to increase its rate of grants for
supervised release. And, the infusion of resources
for intermediate sanction facilities and the administrative policy changes regarding violations seem
to be the main reasons for decreasing parole
revocations.
As the prison population in Texas has stabilized, the number of people placed on probation
has increased and the parole approval rate has
slightly increased. The number of people placed on
felony probation in Texas increased by 6 percent
from FY 2006 (before the initiative) to 2008 (see
Table 2).10 Consequently, the average number of
felons under probation supervision increased
almost 7 percent during the same period.
Between FY 2006 and FY 2008, the average
number of monthly parole releases increased by
about 14 percent. The 30-percent parole approval
rate has been relatively stable during this twoyear period, representing an increase over the
preceding two-year period and moving closer to
the 31-percent approval rate the state’s parole
guidelines provide. The number of people under
parole supervision did not increase significantly
(2 percent), which may indicate that parole supervision terms have shortened.
Although the number of people being placed
on probation has increased and the parole
approval rate has increased the number of people
on parole, revocation rates for people on probation and parole have held steady or improved. The
parole revocation rate decreased by 25 percent
from 2006 to 2008. Texas had 77,990 parolees
under direct supervision in 2008, but only 7,444
were revoked to prison, and, of these, only about
20 percent were revoked for technical violations.11
As documented in a Justice Center report to TDCJ,

9. http://www.co.travis.tx.us/commissioners_court/
minutes/2007/12/071204vsrd.pdf.
10. Texas’ fiscal year is September to August.
11. Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles Annual Reports
FY 2000–2006. TDCJ-CJAD, Annual Statistical Report FY
2007.

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

5

Table 2: Probation Population and TDCJ Admissions and Population Trends
Felons Placed
on Probation

Average Yearly
Felons on
Probation

Total Admissions
to Texas prisons

TDCJ
Population*

2006

56,706

157,993

75,544

155,651

2007

59,742

159,851

74,779

155,428

2008

60,214

168,788

74,283

156,127

6.1%

6.8%

-0.01%

0.3%

Fiscal Year

% Change 2006–2008

*Note: Texas prison population for August 2006 and August 2007 adjusted to account for a methodological change in the
population count that became effective in September 2007 and explained in the note of Figure 6, in Justice Center, Council of State
Governments, September 2007. The number of admissions and population includes inmates in prison, state jails and SAFP facilities.
Justice Reinvestment Texas: A Case Study www.justicecenter.csg.org.
Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community Justice Assistance Division and Legislative Budget Board unpublished
statistical tables.

Table 3: Parole Release and Approval Rate Trends
Average Monthly
Parole Releases

Parole
Approval Rate

Parole
Population

2006

1,504

26.43%

76,721

2007

1,532

29.87%

76,709

2008

1,719

30.93%

77,990

% Change 2006–2008

14.3%

17.0%

1.6%

Fiscal Year

Source: Legislative Budget Board unpublished statistical tables and Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Parole
Guidelines Reports.

Table 4: Probation and Parole Revocation Trends
Felony Probation
Revocations

Felony Probation
Revocation Rate

Parole
Revocations

Revocation
Rate

2006

23,214

14.7%

9,875

12.87%

2007

23,952

15.0%

9,792

12.77%

2008

24,028

14.2%

7,444

9.54%

3.5%

-3.1%

-24.6%

Fiscal Year

% Change 2006–2008

-25.8%

Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community Justice Assistance Division and Legislative Budget Board unpublished
statistical tables.

6

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

this is the result of the aggressive implementation
of progressive sanctions and the use of ISFs in
lieu of a prison revocation.12

2009 Prison Population
Projection
The LBB’s prison population projection issued in
January 2009 takes into account the policy shifts
resulting from the legislature’s 2007 actions.
This updated projection reflects a net reduction
of approximately 15,000 people in the estimated
growth of the prison population by 2012.
The January 2009 projection, unlike the
January 2007 projection, does not suggest a
pressing need for new prison construction. Little
growth is projected for the prison population, and
no shortfall in capacity is projected until August
2013, when the system will need 1,293 additional
beds. Traditionally, when a relatively small shortfall of beds is projected (as in this case), the state

of Texas has contracted with the counties for
additional, temporary bed space. For example, in
2007 and 2008 the state contracted with the counties to use more than 2,000 beds. Another (less
costly) option for the state is to eliminate the need
for additional capacity by slightly increasing the
parole grant rate for people in prison who have
a low risk of reoffending and streamlining the
release process for individuals whose parole is
approved.
Parole grant rates have yet to reach 31 percent
consistently, which is the average rate recommended by the board’s own guidelines. Moreover,
the LBB performance review of the parole release
process showed that inefficiencies in the process
create delays in an offender’s release and limit
bed availability. Minor modifications in the
release protocols could reduce the prison population by more than 1,000 offenders and potentially
save close to $14 million in the next two fiscal
years.13

Figure 1: Actual TDCJ Population at Calendar Year End Compared to
Projected Population of January 2007 Before Justice Reinvestment Initiative
165,000

160,000

155,000

150,000

145,000

140,000
Prison Population

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

146,059 149,535 150,476 153,627 154,682 155,428 155,345 155,924 155,062*

2007 Prison Pop. Projection

155,706 157,523 160,847 163,312

*Projected TDCJ population for December 2009 from the most recent projection (January 2009, LBB)

12. Internal Report to TDCJ, Justice Center, Texas Parole
System: A Case Study of Progressive Sanctions and Risk
Reduction Strategies at Work, February 2009.

13. Legislative Budget Board, January 2009. “Reduce the
Prison Population by Reducing Parole Process Delays” in
Texas State Government Effectiveness and Efficiency: Selected
Issues and Recommendations.

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

7

Challenges for the Legislature
The 81st Texas Legislature, which convened in January 2009, still faces major challenges regarding
the state’s corrections system. A shortage of correctional officers persists with 2,354 correctional
officer vacancies, or 8.9 percent of all correctional
officer positions, on January 31, 2009.14 The state
will also need to address the problems related
to the expansion of residential treatment center
capacity. Additional support for probation and
reentry strategies must also be a priority (see Table
5). These needs will compete with the agency’s
additional priorities, as shown below, as well as
with the priorities of other state agencies.
TDCJ has requested $6.853 billion for its
FY 2010–11 budget, an increase in funding of
approximately $1 billion over the preceding twoyear period. The TDCJ baseline budget includes
continued support for all the programs adopted
during the 2007 legislative session. In addition,
TDCJ has requested “above the baseline” funds for
FY 2010–11 for correctional and parole officers’
pay raises ($453.4 million); probation supervision, outpatient treatment, and mental health
treatment ($72 million); and reentry coordinators
($10.4 million). The basic probation supervision funding request also includes funding for
a probation officer pay raise.15 This will compete
within the TDCJ budget for additional funding
for items such as correctional healthcare ($181.2
million); repairs and rehabilitation of facilities
($100 million); correctional security equipment
($30 million officially requested and potentially
more to be requested to address the public safety
concerns related to smuggled cell phones, an
issue that gained national attention in late 2008);

14. Legislative Budget Board, January 2008. “The
Impact of Correctional Officer Workforce Shortages on
Prison Operations and Security” in Texas State Government
Effectiveness and Efficiency.
15. Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Community
Justice Assistance Division, Strengthening Community
Supervision Fact Sheet, February 2009.
16. Austin American-Statement, “Prison officials
ask for $66 million to help stop cell phone

8

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

and for 2009 an “emergency” request of more than
$176 million to address a budget shortfall during
the present fiscal year related to increased fuel and
electricity costs and other unanticipated operations expenses.16
Texas is facing better budget prospects than
44 states with major budget shortfalls.17 Still,
the backdrop for this legislative session is one of
declining revenues and expected economic downturns; the governor and the LBB have instructed
state agencies, including TDCJ, to present an
alternative budget, which incorporates across-theboard cuts of 10 percent.18
Historically (and as was the case during the
2003 recession), Texas policymakers have shown
little interest in cutting agency expenses by
reducing the prison population and closing down
old, expensive prison units. Accordingly, TDCJ
has proposed realizing a 10 percent spending
cut by reducing funding for alternatives to incarceration and rehabilitation programs. Of the
proposed $124.3 million FY 2010–11 reduction,
$109.4 million, or 88 percent, will be reductions
in probation and parole supervision, alternatives
to incarceration, mental health services, substance
abuse treatment, halfway houses, and intermediate sanction facilities.
Unfortunately, any such reductions will likely
cause an increase in the prison population as they
have in the past. For example, if the increase in
prison population materializes due to a reduction
in alternatives to incarceration in FY 2010–11,
Texas will again face demands for a costly prison
expansion program. Breaking this vicious cycle will
be one of the biggest corrections and budgetary
challenges faced by the Texas Legislature.

smuggling,” December 4, 2008 at http://www.
statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/
local/12/04/1204cellphones.html.
17. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 12,
2008 “State Budget Woes Worsen.”
18. LBB and Governor’s Office Policy Letter, May 5,
2008 as presented in the FY 2010–11 TDCJ Legislative
Appropriations Request, August, 14, 2008.

Table 5: Challenges Faced by the 81st Texas Legislature to Maintain an
Effective Correctional System
Issue

Description

Prison correctional
officer shortage and
high turnover rate for
probation officers

The present shortage in correctional officers negatively impacts all aspects of prison
operations. TDCJ has requested a budget increase of $453.4 million in FY 2010–11 for a
20 percent average pay increase for correctional and parole officers and $40 million for a
pay increase for probation officers.

Treatment facility
locations

The rural location of some treatment facilities makes it difficult to hire qualified counseling staff and increases isolation from family who can assist in rehabilitation efforts. There
are also cultural issues that have never been addressed; namely, the ability of a rural Anglo
staff to effectively connect and establish “treatment” relationships with a predominantly
African-American and Hispanic urban offender population.

Transitional
Treatment Centers in
the community and
treatment staff

Transitional Treatment Centers (TTCs) are used to manage the transition from in-prison
treatment to community treatment of offenders. There is a shortage of vendors to operate TTCs due to low per diem payments, the shortage in qualified certified counselors, and
urban communities’ opposition to having these facilities (which are usually in urban areas
to be effective). There is also a significant shortage of Spanish-speaking counselors, which
negatively impacts the ability to deal with the growing Hispanic population. TDCJ is developing an intensive outpatient transitional treatment program and shortening the length
of stay in TTCs, but these strategies need to be evaluated to assure an impact on recidivism
equivalent or better than the impact that has been documented for the TTCs.

Per diem payments

With state agencies competing against each other due to different per diem payment
schedules, per diem payments vary. In general, TDCJ pays lower per diem than those
provided by the state health agency or federal government, which affects its competitive
position in the market.

Probation/
mental health

Probation officer turnover has increased, and the general higher operational costs for
the probation system is putting pressure on diverting funds from programs and diversion efforts. The number of mentally ill persons in the system continues to increase and
put added demands to more effectively deal with this population. TDCJ has requested an
additional $72 million for FY 2010–11 for enhancements in this area, including funding
for additional outpatient substance abuse treatment and mental health courts.

Reentry and
collaboration

Transitioning offenders from programs to community reentry requires effective collaboration with other public and private social services providers, such as housing acquisition or
workforce development, but programs are staffed at levels that do not allow for dedicated
personnel to do this. TDCJ has requested $10.4 million in new funds for “reentry transitional coordinators” to enhance collaboration and reentry follow-up.

Barriers to success

State policies enacted in this decade are directed at the apparent protection of different
segments of the public, but these policies have created significant barriers to offender success. Occupational license restrictions prevent offenders from engaging in certain occupations; results of background checks increasingly restrict housing options; and ex-inmates’
employment opportunities and financial obligations related to the payment of court
imposed fines and fees have increased the financial burdens of an already economically
distressed population. These policies need to be re-examined.

Sustainability

The state has not funded adequate research to measure the outcomes of Justice Reinvestment programs, which over the long term decreases the confidence the programs are
producing well-documented results. Funding for this research should be considered an
important part of improving the programs and sustaining their support.

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

9

To learn more about the justice reinvestment strategy
in Texas and other states, please visit:
www.justicereinvestment.org.

The Justice Center is a national, nonpartisan organization that works with policymakers to develop data-driven, consensus-based
strategies that increase public safety and strengthen communities. Assistance from the Justice Center is made possible in part
through funding support provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the
Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2008-DD-BX-0685
awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of
Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics,
the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention, and the Office for Victims of
Crime. Points of view or opinions in this document are those
of the author and do not represent the official position or
policies of the United State Department of Justice.
To learn more about the Bureau of Justice Assistance,
please visit: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/.

Research and analysis described in this report also has been
funded by the Public Safety Performance Project of The Pew
Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States. Launched in 2006 as
a project of the Pew Center on the States, the Public Safety
Performance Project seeks to help states advance fiscally
sound, data-driven policies and practices in sentencing
and corrections that protect public safety, hold offenders
accountable, and control corrections costs.
To learn more about the Public Safety Performance
Project, please visit: http://www.pewpublicsafety.org/.

Points of view, recommendations, or findings stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent
the official position or policies of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Council of
State Governments Justice Center, or the Council of State Governments’ members.
Suggested citation: Council of State Governments Justice Center, Justice Reinvestment in Texas: Assessing the Impact of the 2007 Justice
Reinvestment Initiative, (New York: Council of State Governments Justice Center, 2009).

Council of State Governments
Justice Center
100 Wall Street
20th Floor
New York, NY 10005
tel:	 212-482-2320
fax:	 212-482-2344

4630 Montgomery Avenue
Suite 650
Bethesda, MD 20814
tel:	 301-760-2401
fax:	 240-497-0568
www.justicecenter.csg.org

10

Justice Reinvestment in Texas

504 W. 12th Street
Austin, TX 78701
tel:	 512-482-8298
fax:	 512-474-5011

 

 

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