In a surprise move to reverse a 23-year-old merger of Texas’ criminal justice agencies, a key legislative committee moved Wednesday to shift all parole operations and programs from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to the Board of Pardons and Parole that now just votes on releases.
In addition, a Senate working group writing the first draft of the 2014-15 state budget proposed closing two private prisons that house state convicts to save $97 million over two years, and hinted it might push to close or mothball even more lockups in a system that now has thousands of empty bunks because of a declining convict population.
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PAROLE SYSTEM IN TEXAS: At a glance
Board of Pardons and Paroles
Votes on parole, pardons and clemency cases
$25 million annual budget
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Parole Division
Supervises 87,000 parolees
$156 million annual budget
Source: Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, Texas Department of Criminal Justice