Texas Leaders Consider Freeing More Prisoners

AUSTIN (AP) – Texas lawmakers have been discussing the possibility of releasing more nonviolent prisoners early to help the state deal with a projected $15 billion budget shortfall.

The state does not have the resources to continue business as usual in Texas, according to John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee

“Everything is on the table for discussion this year. Everything,” said Whitmire, of Houston, whose panel oversees Texas prisons.

Lawmakers are considering whether nonviolent foreign citizens who are up for parole and old, ill convicts might be considered for early release, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday night.

“Whatever we decide to do should not compromise public safety in any way,” said House Corrections Committee chairman Jerry Madden of Richardson. “No one’s in favor of that.”

Police, prosecutors and crime victims groups are urging caution in paroling inmates.

“If they want to get rid of the dopers, OK. The drunks, hot check artists, the thieves, OK,” said William “Rusty” Hubbarth, an Austin lawyer with Justice for All, a Houston-based crime victims group. “But they should keep all the sex offenders and the 3G (violent) offenders right where they are. They don’t need to go anywhere.”

A 2009 legislative study urged that additional medical paroles be considered.

Almost 12,000 foreign nationals, mostly from Mexico, are in Texas prisons. About 3,000 were behind state bars as of December for nonviolent or drug offenses, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. All were listed as parole-eligible and are targeted for deportation on release.

The newspaper said sending them all home could save more than $54 million a year.

“The big fear has been that the Mexican nationals would come back into Texas, but we could make it a condition of their parole that if they came back, they would go back to prison,” said Whitmire. “My guess is we’d never see these people again. Prisons are no party in Texas. Why would anyone want to come back and risk going back in the joint for a longer sentence?”

Officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined comment.

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen says nonviolent foreign nationals should be sent home.

“They’re costing us a huge amount of money,” Hinojosa said. “Let’s get rid of them.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • http://www.onestopnewsstand.com/dallas/texas-leaders-consider-freeing-more-prisoners Texas Leaders Consider Freeing More Prisoners | One Stop News Stand

    […] CBS Dallas / Fort Worth […]

  • Jim

    How about freeing all the people locked up for marijuana possession? There’s no reason in the world for them to be in prison in the first place. Let our people go!!!

  • Jason

    Agree w/ Jim.. Let out the pot smokers and make some room for Rick Perry!

    • Jason

      Legalize It!

  • http://fortworthinsight.com/news/texas-leaders-consider-freeing-more-prisoners/ Texas Leaders Consider Freeing More Prisoners « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Texas Leaders Consider Freeing More Prisoners Texas lawmakers are discussing whether releasing convicts is a smart way to help deal with a state budget shortfall. Go to News Source […]

  • Rick McDaniel

    Oh sure……just turn the criminals loose on the public, but don’t allow them to defend themselves!

    Government genuinely demonstrates, total lunacy.

    • JP

      This is in Texas. Probably the most armed state in the US. Someone steps on your property you say get off if they advance you can shoot them dead. We have the lowest crime rate because we are the most armed populace. We are allowed to protect ourselves. Sorry if you live in the North. But they are releasing them here. Save me some money and let them out. I live in Texas so I don’t have to be afraid.

      • AP

        I’m a Texas girl and I sleep better at knowing that I can protect myself from criminals. However, I hear rumors of how they plan to take guns away from us. Another wise decision by Obama…grrrr!

      • JP

        AP glad to hear it. Taking guns away always increased crime rates by more than 10%. I always ask pro gun control people to show me one region one state one anything where gun control has resulted in a decrease in crime rates. I have never had anyone be able to show me that. Gun Control = Pro Crime every time.

  • Blow with Johnny Depp

    STOP this Imprisonment of Marijuana Tobacco smokers. THIS IS INSANE and Wrong! Has anyone ever seen the Movie BLOW with Johnny Depp? There’s Enough reason right there to Let OUR PEOPLE out of Your Sick BIBLE Thumping Radical Belt Prisons you Holier Than Thou WHITE PEOPLE. And most in prison due to Green Tea Marijuana Leaves are WHITE MEN and Women. WAKE the F. UP !

    • Ron M

      Mr Blow with Johnny Depp… You must have looked at the movie, which I’ve seen, as some glorious thing and that these people who brought in an untold amount of cocaine into the US which killed people and destroyed lives. Another thing, I would leave your Bible comments out because our prisons are anything but bible thumping. I ministered in maximum security prisons for over 10 yrs and calling them holier than thou and bible thumping couldn’t be farther than the truth. I do wish they would allow more programs about God. My last comment would be that I’m more afraid of people with the thoughts and mentality that you have than most anything else. You have a lot of hate within… I hope that God gets a hold of you one day and gets you pointed in the right direction.

  • DNB

    The ones that truly need to do something like this are the Feds. Their prisons are terribly overcrowded and basically vioilate all the rights a person has as even a convicted criminal. The whole system is corrupt from top to bottom, It is based on power, money and spoils of victory that reward lawyers, law enforcement and penal system employees accordingly for convicting a person of damn near anything they so desire.

    • A. Kraft

      The ones that truly need to do something like this are the Feds. Their prisons are terribly overcrowded and basically vioilate all the rights a person has as even a convicted criminal. The whole system is corrupt from top to bottom, It is based on power, money and spoils of victory…”

      Dear Mr. DNB: The Federal Prisons I have been in do not remotely match your
      description. IF you have been in prison I hope you now are willing to accept the fact
      that you had a CHOICE to obey or not obey the law that put you there.

  • James S

    NORML says free our people.

  • chris

    All I have to say is its about TIME they reconize NON-VIOLENT offenders !!!!!!!!! I have a little brother in prison for a stupid phone call that got him 20yrs and he has to do 7 of that OMG!!!!!!!!!! Thats in oklahoma and in California there law calls that crime a chicken s__t charge !!! Come on keep the cho mo and rapist and other VIOLENT ones behind bars .Its just BS!

  • SDFin

    Why don’t they just deport all the illegals in our prison system? That’d give them over 30% more space.

  • SDFin

    How about deporting everyone caught using or selling drugs? Then the cartels won’t have a reason to smuggle it here.

  • tubby

    america is doomed you state legislsator freaks..you freaks spending my tax dollars on feeding a bunch f worthless druggies..just shoot them and burn their bodies..who cares???

  • Missmary

    We need to carefully rule out prisoners for violent crimes. Before that, during a massive release, one sadistic cold-blooded killer got out, went back to central Texas, raped, tortured and murdered three more Texas women within a three-year period. Then and only then the Texas legislature forbid release for convicts of violent crimes. Duh.

  • Jaded

    If you need to thin the herd, try releasing the violent criminals into a wooden box in a hole in the ground. Same thing goes for the old and infirmed prisoners. What do we need to let them out for? So they can retire and soak up SSI and Medicaire? I don’t think so…

    Kill the worst offenders and those who can not offer anything to society upon their release. Leave the rest inside to pay for their crimes.

    To all the “free the potheads” – come on now – nobody is in PRISON serving years on end in this state for smoking a few joints in their home. The guys in prison were holding way too much weight to be considered personal use.

    • jason

      No but if those few joints came from one plant that they grew for only themselves then yes they are serving years on end in Texas!

  • UrGettingScamed

    Fools Savings – Most of the criminals released will be back in the system in nothing flat. So there will be the cost of the criminal damage that they do plus the cost of arresting and prosecuting them all over again. This is just another kick the can down the road – phony short term savings and greater long term costs.

  • RyGuy

    How much does a bullet cost? Leave the small timers locked up, get rid of the long timers, permanently…… Maybe criminals will think twice before they act if there is an actual punishment…..

  • thomas

    If they release these Illegals and send them back to mexico .If they come back give them a automatic 20 year sentence if they come back ,and if the others comit any other crimes they will face a 20 year sentence besides what was lift on there sentences before parloe.

  • pat

    Well, Texas Voters welcome to the State you voted for re-electing Governor Perry and all those Republican Legislators back to Austin. Hope you are happy with your conservative ideology now. The state is now part way into the swamp swallowing all of us up in the vile muck. Welcome to your childrens future of fearing for their young lives fending off murders, child abusers, sex offenders and rapists. Welcome husbands,

  • freewillynow

    There are hundreds of people in Texas prison for DWI….repeat offenders usually get 35 years or more..some much more… even if they have not had a wreck nor hurt anyone….Then you hve hunders more that have KILLED someone while DWI and they get 10 years …. so remember…if you drink don’t drive…if you drink and drive be sure to have awreck and kill someone… you get less time and get out sooner…..
    Then there are the petty thieves and others that have made a 1 bad mistake ,that was illegal but not hurt anyone nor cost anyone anything but Tax dollars to prosicute them…they are costing us Millions to feed and house.

    But if they let them go the Prison employees will take a drmatic hit to the wallets…
    That’s right….It will lessen the captive customers for Cigarretes,tobacco snuff..$100.00 per pack or can….Cell phone sales will be curtailed… $2000.00 per phone ,smuggled in by guards…Captains,sergeants,even wardens make very good $$$ from the families and friends of those that recieve the Contraband….only about 5% f these items are sent able to get in with out help from the PRISON STAFF.


    So this could mean drug users, wife and children abusers, sex offenders are just let loose.

    • jason

      Please don’t lump drug users in with wife beaters and sex offenders. What’s the crime in harming yourself?

  • john

    let them all out the police are more corrupt than the people locked up look at all the police getting caught for taking bribes and beating people unnecessarily

  • jOHN

    sOYLET GREEN KILL ALL THE VIOLENT AND SEX OFFENDERS AND MAKE DOG AND CAT FOOD. cHEEPER TO KILL THEM AND MAKE FOOD PRODUCTS THE STATE CAN BENEFIT.cLOSE DOWN THE ENTIRE DEPT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEPT ,REMOVE ALL EMPLOYEE BENEFITS,RETIREMENT,CLOSE DOWN FOREINTICS DEPT. oUT SOURCE TO FBI and All the illegals take a head count and repeat offenders a s a number of oil barrels own to America and Texas for remittances mexico owes us.Cut all prison benefits, food , and sexual benefits.

  • Linda

    And just exactly what are these people supposed to do when they’re “set free” in the current economic situation?? It’s difficult enough to find a job out there now without having the added stigma of having served time in prison. Sounds like merely exchanging one problem for another to me … rate of recividism would be close to 100%. Do our public officials have any brains in their heads??

  • John

    It is best to kill all the illegals to prevent them to fill up the prison and abuse the services Texas and America fund. A sense of fear needs to be to them treat illegals like mexico prison. No benefits and serve time. A fear needs to be address to them so they keep out of Texas and out of the prisons.Use the Soylet Green approach.

  • JOHN

    Target shooting for CHL license. Live fire target for training .All the violent crooked police, any law enforcement officer,and sex preverts.Shoot all the mexicans,gang members, communist leaders,hate groups, clean out the prisons.

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