Honorable Tan Parker, Chair, House Committee On Corrections
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB517 by Pitts (Relating to the eligibility of inmates convicted of certain intoxication offenses for release on parole or mandatory supervision.), As Introduced
The bill would amend the Government Code as it relates to the eligibility of inmates convicted of certain intoxication offenses for release on parole or mandatory supervision. Under the provisions of the bill, inmates serving a sentence for certain intoxication offenses may not be released to mandatory supervision and may only be released to parole supervision once actual time served (without consideration of good conduct time) equals one-half of the sentence or 30 calendar years, whichever is less, but no less than two calendar years.
In fiscal year 2012, 4,490 offenders were admitted to prison for intoxication offenses specified in the bill. The bill is expected to increase the length of incarceration for many of these offenders. To assess the impact on incarceration length, the actual release patterns for offenders released in fiscal year 2012 were compared to the expected release patterns for these offenders were the bill implemented. Among fiscal year 2012 prison releases, 4,582 offenders were incarcerated for intoxication offenses specified in the bill. For 3,876 of these released offenders, the billís provisions would have set their initial parole eligibility date after the date of their actual release in fiscal year 2012. It is assumed that the bill would only affect these offenders. Since the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) approved these offenders to be released to parole or mandatory supervision before the new parole eligibility date (as set by the billís provisions), it is assumed that the BPP would release these offenders to parole on their new parole eligibility date. Therefore, in this analysis, each of the 3,876 offenders were assigned a new parole eligibility date based on the billís provisions and were assumed to be released on that date. The new length of stay was calculated for each offender and compared against their actual length of stay. The new average length of stay for these offenders would be 997 days (or 2.7 years) while the actual average length of stay for these offenders was 566 days (or 1.5 years) in fiscal year 2012. The billís provisions would thereby increase the average length of stay by 431 days (or 1.2 years).
In the first year of the billís implementation, the length of incarceration would only increase by 27 days, on average, since most of the offenders would have been incarcerated for nearly all of that year anyway under current statute. In the second year of the billís implementation, however, the length of incarceration would increase by 226 days, on average, which substantially increases the billís cost in the second year compared to the first year. Also contributing to the increased cost in the second year are new cohorts of admissions who would be subject to the billís provisions. In the third and subsequent year of the billís implementation, the average increase in incarceration length decreases. However, the fiscal impact continues to grow, though at a slower rate, since the bill applies to additional cohorts of newly admitted offenders.
In order to estimate the future impact, the proposed conditions of the bill have been analyzed using recent trends observed in populations released from prison for these offenses. Assuming sentencing patterns and release policies not addressed in this bill remain constant, the probable impact of implementing the provisions of the bill during each of the first five years following passage, in terms of daily demand upon the adult corrections agencies, is estimated as follows: