In an effort to save the state money, lawmakers are considering changes to the prison system and probation. According to the American Statesman, the proposed changes, being added to House Bill 3386, could save the state millions at a time when we are struggling to stretch what we have.
While one estimate puts the potential savings at $13.5 million, supportive lawmakers suggest the ultimate savings could be much more, even double that amount. According to the House Corrections Committee Chairman, “We think this is a way to save money, lots of money, without endangering public safety.”
Here are just a few of the changes being proposed:
- Charging inmates $100 annually for their healthcare
- Doubling the number of minutes an inmate is allowed to use on the telephone (an income generator for the state)
- Selling over the counter medications like aspirin through the prison stores
- Instituting a program of shock probation
- Studying the benefits/costs of privatizing prisons
One of particular interest is the implementation of shock probation. Currently, if you are caught violating your probation, you can have your probation revoked and be sent to prison for the remainder of your original sentence, an average of over four years for most.
Shock probation, instead, would send those same non-violent probation violators to prison for a short stint, one year to be exact. This could be a huge savings to the state without risking public safety. And there’s no question a year in prison would be sufficient punishment for your run of the mill probation violation.
This doesn’t apply to people who violate their probation by breaking new laws, merely by “technical” violations or failing to follow the rules of their probation.
Probation is considered a privilege and something that many people hope for when they go to court on criminal charges. Fortunately it’s an available option for many accused of nonviolent offenses without a significant criminal record.
If you are facing criminal charges or are accused of violating your probation, contact our Texas defense attorneys today. We can discuss your options and how to go about getting the best results for your specific situation.