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NCJ Number: 67738 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: TEXAS - '. . . AND BEHIND THE BARS, THE PRISONERS WAIT'
Journal: JOINT ENDEAVOR  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(JANUARY 1980)  Pages:3-8
Author(s): J BOLCH
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Statistics
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: PAROLE BOARD PROBLEMS AND POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN THE PAROLE PROCESS IN TEXAS FROM 1976 TO 1979 ARE DESCRIBED.
Abstract: THE 3-MEMBER PAROLE BOARD ESTABLISHED AS A CONSTITUTIONAL BODY IN 1935 HAD ACCUMULATED AN UNMANAGEABLE YEARLY NUMBER OF 5,000 PAROLE RECOMMENDATIONS BY 1974. LEGISLATION WAS SOUGHT BY THE BOARD AND PASSED IN 1975 THAT CREATED SIX PAROLE COMMISSIONERS TO INVESTIGATE, INTERVIEW, AND VOTE ON PAROLES. THE SIX COMMISSIONERS WERE GIVEN THE SAME DUTIES AND AUTHORITY AS THE BOARD MEMBERS IN MATTERS OF PAROLE DECISIONS, DUTIES AND AUTHORITIES NOT ANTICIPATED BY THE BOARD. FROM THE MOMENT THE COMMISSIONERS TOOK OFFICE, THE BOARD MEMBERS AND THE COMMISSIONERS HAVE BEEN EMBROILED IN DECISIONMAKING AND POWER STRUGGLES THAT HAVE RESULTED IN MINUTE SHEETS AND RECORDS THAT NEED TO BE DECIPHERED BY A 'BOARD LIAISON' MEMBER TO INMATE FAMILIES WANTING TO KNOW WHY A PAROLE WAS REVOKED OR VOTED DOWN. A PANEL SYSTEM DESIGNED TO SPLIT THE WORKLOAD THREE WAYS, WITH BOARD MEMBERS AND COMMISSIONERS WORKING TOGETHER IN PANELS OF THREE HAS BEEN USED TO THE BOARD MEMBERS' ADVANTAGE. BY 1978, RESPONDING TO A GROWING NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS FROM WITHIN THE AGENCY AND FROM DISGRUNTLED PRISONERS AND THEIR FAMILIES, BOTH THE STATE HOUSE AND THE STATE SENATE NAMED SPECIAL COMMITTEES TO STUDY THE ENTIRE PAROLE OPERATION, EVENTUALLY RECOMMENDING A DRASTIC ALTERATION OF THE BOARD STRUCTURE. FACED WITH THAT THREAT, THE BOARD RESTRUCTURED ITSELF SO AS TO GIVE THE APPEARANCE OF RETURNING CONTROL OF PAROLE DECISIONS TO THE COMMISSIONERS; HOWEVER, DURING THE FOLLOWING YEAR, THE BOARD RECONSIDERED AND WITHDREW 346 PAROLE RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY COMMISSIONERS. WHILE THE HOUSE STUDY COMMITTEE PROPOSED REPLACING THE BOARD AND COMMISSIONERS WITH AN UNSALARIED, POLICYMAKING BOARD AND PROFESSIONAL PAROLE DECISIONMAKERS AND THE SENATE RECOMMENDED FORMING A NEW, NINE-MEMBER PAROLE COMMISSION ON WHICH ALL WOULD HAVE EQUAL AUTHORITY, THE PRESENT BOARD AND COMMISSIONER SITUATION CONTINUES. ILLUSTRATIONS ARE INCLUDED. (MHP)
Index Term(s): Parole board discretion; Parole investigations; Parole statistics; Political influences; Probation or parole decisionmaking; Texas
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67738

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