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Posts Tagged ‘probation’

Probation and drug testing update

Sounds like good news. Late last summer, the director of the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department resigned, and the Harris County District Attorney’s office said it would stop using the agency’s drug tests as evidence after revelations that its overburdened drug-testing program had led to the wrongful jailing of some probationers and people […]

Anderson’s DWI proposal

You may recall that former Harris County DA Pat Lykos’ DIVERT program for DWI offenders was a major point of contention in the GOP primary fight that was eventually won by new DA Mike Anderson. (If you don’t recall, see here and here for some background, or review the interviews I did with Lykos and […]

Harris County probation director resigns

Some fairly big news that has nothing to do with hurricanes, the GOP convention, or the Voting Rights Act. Paul Becker, the director of Harris County’s probation department, resigned Wednesday in the wake of allegations the department mismanaged thousands of drug tests used to decide the fates of probationers and suspects out on bail while […]

Reducing prison population is hard

And we’re taking a step backwards. Last summer, when tough-on-crime Texas closed its first prison ever, legislative leaders were jubilant over downsizing one of the nation’s largest corrections systems by more than 1,000 beds. It was a first big step, they said, toward saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in coming years. Meanwhile, prison […]

When cutting the budget increases your costs

From the deja vu all over again department. Texas legislators, looking for ways to plug an estimated $15 billion to $27 billion budget hole, are considering proposals that would cut as much as $162 million from rehabilitation and treatment programs meant to help criminals avoid going back to prison. For instance, the $100 Danny Bell […]

One person’s experience with deferred adjudication for DWI

After I posted about the bill to allow deferred adjudication for DWI, I received the following email from a reader, who gave me permission to publish it. Deferred adjudication (D.A) ….My brother had it because of a DWI in the early 1990s and failed miserably through it. The conditions of D.A. are so onerous that […]

Deferred adjudication for DWI

There are thousands of drunk driving cases on district court dockets around the state. To try and help get them cleared out, a bill has been filed to allow first time offenders to get deferred adjudication. First-time offenders could be acquitted of the offense if they complete supervision and treatment. If the offense were repeated, […]

Some budget cuts can be a force for good

If there’s one place where something good can come out of the current budget mess, it’s with the criminal justice system, where recent trends, economic realities, and the hard-won lessons of 2003 are contributing to an environment where good policies can come from the decisions that will need to be made. “One in every 22 […]

If we must cut the budget, let’s be smart about it

The Trib remembers the last time the state of Texas had a huge budget hole, and how it made things worse in its attempt to deal with it. For some, it’s not too early to fret that lawmakers will balance the budget in 2011 by doing what they did seven years ago, the last time […]

The DA’s new DWI program

The Harris County District Attorney’s new driving while intoxicated diversion program appears to have some problems. Under the new program, those accused of a first-time DWI will be offered the diversion program or 30 days in jail and a $750 fine. Defendants who do not want either choice can take their cases to the judge […]

Two immigration stories

Governor Perry writes a letter to the Department of Homeland Security. Perry asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano this week to take a series of steps to improve information-sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement. The Homeland Security-related issues “seriously affect public safety in Texas,” Perry wrote earlier this week in a letter to […]

Blow before you drive

MADD wants to make it harder for people with a drunk driving conviction to get behind the wheel. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is again pushing Texas legislators to require ignition interlocks for people convicted of their first driving while intoxicated offense. The ignition interlock device tests a driver’s breath to confirm he or she hasn’t […]