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  #1  
Old 01-14-2009, 01:57 PM
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Default 81st Legislative session...live..WWF

I don't know if you guys are watching the session live, but there is a huge battle on about due process and the 2/3rds rule to get anything passed. Live online now..if you miss it, it will be archived later. Williams is getting put in his place, firmly. Whitmire and Ellis is involved.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:02 PM
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I'm having problems viewing it, possibly it's over now.
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"We're all tough on crime, but we've got to be smart & that isn't necessarily 'Lock em up & throw away the key,' but providing programs & insight to do things differently than before." ~ Rep. Madden ; "It makes more sense to keep nonviolent offenders in community treatment centers - where they could get help, than to imprison them." ~ Sen. Whitmire
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by strawberry6977 View Post
I'm having problems viewing it, possibly it's over now.
It's still going, I had to download realplayer. It kept trying to open in a text program.

It is still WWF..Royce West is tearing williams up now.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:27 PM
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Yeah, I got it now. It's not a very "user friendly" layout they have. I am watching now... Thanks!
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"We're all tough on crime, but we've got to be smart & that isn't necessarily 'Lock em up & throw away the key,' but providing programs & insight to do things differently than before." ~ Rep. Madden ; "It makes more sense to keep nonviolent offenders in community treatment centers - where they could get help, than to imprison them." ~ Sen. Whitmire
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:29 PM
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How bout a link?
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Old 01-14-2009, 04:31 PM
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http://www.senate.state.tx.us/bin/live.php

In recess at the moment.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:49 AM
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what happened and what was it about?
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:44 AM
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what happened and what was it about?
Many topics to discuss..economy, jobs, TYC, health care, and Williams brought a proposal to the table at teh start of the session that was not on the agenda(why you may ask...because it was "voter ID"..and no one concidered it important enough-in the face of the other issues-to put on the current agenda...Williams insisted it be brought to table(which is out of order)....he was asking for a majority vote to pass it(3/5ths instead of 2/3rds) which has only been done a few times in the history of our Texas process...they spent the entire day with one senator after another challenging his right to table the issue for a vote and whether he could do it on 3/5ths(31 members total). At the end of the day(after Whitmire poured his heart out arguing with him)..it passed.
The significance:Now, in order to get a "special" issue passed(one that is highly 'partisan'-all dem or rep), all they need is a majority vote..right now..we have majority rep. In a couple of years, we may have a turn-over. Either way..now it gives the majority party the ability to ramrod their bill(possible future law) right straight through with no challenge...
Next obstical...it has to pass the house(150 members-76rep, 74dem)...which may or may not think it is as good an idea as the senate...then the president(dem) gets to see if he wants it.....he can veto it. They are basically trying to change things so they can get their own agendas voted on(yesterday they placed voter ID above all the other issues...and Williams spent hours explaining how voter ID was more important than all the other issues and how much "voter outcry" there was over that issue...was a huge kindergarden brawl)
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Old 01-18-2009, 02:54 PM
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X4livin what in Our "Lingo" LOL does or is the 2/3rd rule/law mean for us/inmates now or in the future sorry for seeming so unknowledgeable! but my son said some CO in their unit said if this passes then that means those with agg case do 2/3's of there time? true or not sorry 4 being ignorant in this but Thank you for all your help sherry
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by oxygen's mom View Post
X4livin what in Our "Lingo" LOL does or is the 2/3rd rule/law mean for us/inmates now or in the future sorry for seeming so unknowledgeable! but my son said some CO in their unit said if this passes then that means those with agg case do 2/3's of there time? true or not sorry 4 being ignorant in this but Thank you for all your help sherry
In this particular case, it is referring to the (uncommon)tradition of having 2/3 of the senators voting FOR legislation before it passes of is passed on to the house. The significants of it is that now that they have voted to do this(they decided that majority vote is enough..3/5), they can push a law into being, with only the majority of the house wanting it. It no longer has to be 2/3s if it is a "special" case..."special" being decided by the senators who WANT it. The problem...majority of the senators are republican. Support for early release, prison pay raises, decreased parole time..etc...is supported by....demacrats...Whitmire...etc. This makes it harder for senators who WOULD pass legislation to aid the TDC system..and easier for the ones who would lock them away and throw away the key to pass what they see fit. Now it's kind of up to the economy to force some action. The have a little money left..this money will be gone in 2011. Between now they can continue as they have been..deny parole on a whim...play god/judge..OR they can choose to make some changes now that can relieve some pressure before they have to face the piper in 2011. It's anybody's guess if they will relinquish a bit of the god power or if the citizens will eventually have to pry it out of their cold dead hands.
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Old 01-20-2009, 07:13 PM
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So what can we do to help it go our way? I'd rather have them released sooner and I'll help pry it out of their cold dead hands!!! if necessary I think 50% on some cases are rediculious!! thank you Sherry
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:29 AM
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Well, here's a thought. Write your senator and encourage him/her to protect our states education and healthcare funding future by decreasing state spending by releasing the inmates that are eligible for parole, enforce the ruling last april that called for parole board guidlines to be followed or go back to mandatory release to supervised and take it(pry it) out of the parole boards hands. The point Whitmire was making was that in 2011 if something didn't change, the prison system is going to start competing with education and healthcare for our kids if we don't fix it. Let's back him. The concern was mentioned about "public outcry" in the last meeting...mentioning the issues that "the citizens of Texas were voicing desire to have changed" Voicing is exactly what it is going to take...write your senator, use common sense tactics(maybe as opposed to emotional pleas). Look up statistics(I will look some up on gritsforbreakfast later..after no sleep in 24 hours-work-I don't have real good sense till I sleep)

If anyone else has any "logic based" ideas to send them..please do tell...I'm writing Estes and Hightower.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:02 PM
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Ok, as far as the convincing info for letters, Clove pretty much nailed it in this post:
http://www.prisontalk.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=391264

She got the info from this blog in GRITSFORBREAKFAST
http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.co...-money-or.html

This is written by a guy named Scott Henson who is actually present in most of the legislative sessions. When you watch the live versions, you see him pacing in the back sometimes. His statistics are right on, and his arguments are good. The senators know who he is, and I don't think he'd mind if you quoted his blog as long as you cited info to keep it all legal. His point for writing is to get the info out there. He makes great points and he's logical enough to make it hard to dispute his points. If you read something on there you would like to use and need help figuring out how to get it into text and cited, etc, I can probably get it there for you. Once you're satisfied you are making the point you want to make, and references cited and legal...you can sign off on it and send it to your legislative leaders.
Too many of us WANT change, but we wait and watch for it, we don't demand it. They don't have a clue what the majority wants until we tell them. The laws are being written for the people who make their needs and wants known(good writers are not necessarily the majority, but they are the known majority to the officials)

Ok, anyway, let me know, I'll help where I can. If you have any good resources to add, please do. Knowledge is power.
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  #14  
Old 01-21-2009, 08:16 PM
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If you'll write it, x4livin, I'll sign it and send it!
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:30 PM
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Count me in, too. I can help with the research. I'm good at that. We do so need to make our voices heard. I've heard a statistic that for every one letter, phone call, or email, etc.. by an individual 250 people feel the same way.
The legislators know this. They will listen. What have we got to lose? Not a sorry lot.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:06 PM
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I was thinking that a good thing to do would be to create a few form e-mails covering some of the pending issues, like the bill reducing less than a gram to a misdemeaner. Another asking them to force the parole board to go by their own guidelines, ect.. That's the way lobbiest do it and just have it out for people to copy and send. We could split up the work. Each could take an issue and come up with something.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:17 PM
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You know, it wouldn't hurt to cite some personal examples from PTO..not naming anyone, but state things like complaints of mail backed up do to current staff numbers unable to handle to capacity, commesary short on stock in general, etc.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:24 PM
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I think that's a great idea. If you want to put something together on that. I could start on the felony to misdemeanor bill.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:25 AM
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Sounds good to me also. If there is anything that I can help y'all with let me know.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:19 AM
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What I have so far..I haven't plugged in any numbers yet...please add points and i'll work them in and expound on them.

OUTLINE

*2/3 inmates "parole ready"
*reason msr was d/c’d
*parole rates before msr d/c’d
*parole rates after msr d/c’d
*has PB mete goals of d/c’ing msr?
*new legislation April 08
*Pb rates before April 08
*pb rates after April 08
*has PB met guidelines set?
*2/3 "parole ready" huge financial liability
*paroling relieves financial burden of state
*puts ##### people finding jobs(even the McDonalds’
job that has the perpetual sign up asking for help)
*Those people...working now..paying taxes and helping to
relieve the financial burden of housing the offenders
who have no chance at parole=staffing needs will be met
*competing with education and healthcare
*budget needs for each
*budget amounts available
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:39 PM
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These are some facts I compliled a while back but I have no cites for them as yet. Working on it and a few other things.

Texas incarcerates more people in prison than any other state in the country, over 155,000. Texas prisons are at 98% capacity. They are currently 3000 guards understaffed.

Just under half of TDCJ inmates were convicted of violent offenses (49.7%). Another 17.1% of inmates committed property crimes (mostly burglary) and 19.6% are incarcerated for drug offenses, mostly possession only; 3.8% are incarcerated for DWI.

Of those incarcerated in prison (as opposed to state jails or SAFP programs), a whopping 66% are currently eligible for parole.

Parole approval rates average 29% for those eligible for parole.

Inmates have absolutely no constitutionally protected right to parole. They have no formal hearing. They are barred by law to see any facts in evidence that the parole board uses to decide their case. The parole board has complete discretionary powers to decide whether to grant parole or not.

The parole board consists of 3 people for a nonviolent offense. Two of which have to agree. They do not meet or communicate about a case as a matter of course. The head voter usually makes the determination for the remaining two. The average time the member uses to review the case is 3 minutes.
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:16 PM
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Default letter placed in general for ease of finding it...

For those interested in sending this proposed letter to officials, please see Texas general prison forum under "proposed letter to the senators, representitives, governor, president"

Thanks, g
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:33 PM
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Add shortage of officers because of pay- -new officers are getting the raises, not the ones that have YEARS in- -so far.
Yet the older officers have to train the new ones- -what's wrong with this picture?
Just a suggestion- -one gets what they pay for- -officers eat to- -how weird.
Be safe.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:05 PM
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Letter to the legislature regarding the Sunset Commissions proposed recommendations for the BPP that have failed to be implemented and S.B. 909 that has yet to be followed -

I am writing in regard to the Board of Pardons and Parole and the unresolved issues in following the law set forth in S.B. 909.

The BPP deviates from their recommended percentages of release without giving sufficient reasons for their voting practices. They make a habit of undercutting the releases for inmates with the highest scores while going beyond the accepted rates for those with lower scores. And yet, they give no clear reason for the deviation.

While I am sure this is a source of aggravation for you in trying to implement public policy, imagine the frustration level of the inmate and their families. Most who are incarcerated have committed the crime for which they are being punished. They know that and so do their families. But the failure to give them a meaningful reason for denial leaves them with little recourse as to what to do next.

The recommendations via the Dec. 2008 Interim Report to the 81st Legislature (pg. 103) posed to remedy the problem do not go far enough.

The BPP as it stands has disregarded the attempts by the legislature to make an accurate accounting of its actual approval rates and how they deviate from the recommended approval rates. Given the lack of cooperation thus far, I find it difficult to believe that they would be any less independent-minded in implementing further legislative attempts at oversight.

They would still have an enormous amount of discretionary power in deciding parole. Simply supplying an inmate with their guideline score without an accounting of how it was calculated or which factors weighed heavier in the decision making process is not much different than it is now. I mean most of us do know how to use a calculator already and can figure it up ourselves.

This cat and mouse game between the legislature and the BPP has got to end. Please do not let this continue. Make some real progress in defining, and limiting the BPP’s omnipotent control over the lives of the 66% of the prison population currently eligible for parole and the countless lives of their families.

I am not asking that you should allow felons to escape justice for crimes committed. What I am asking for is a fair and equitable system that would enable the offender to have some real responsibility and accountability in their own release.

Please put back in place some kind of Mandatory Supervision Release that gives everyone a fair playing field. Fix the flaws that were inherent in the old system and put some balance back into this pendulum swing.

The system currently in place does little to protect the tax payers from the enormous cost of housing a prison population of over 155, 000. Also, because parole decisions are so arbitrarily applied, it does little to help insure the public safety. Some substantive changes make sense for all of us.

Quote from Rissie Owens reported by the Dallas Morning News, May 28, 2007, from the article Inmates fight the prison of ‘pre-parole’ system. "I've been on this board for a number of years and no one has ever said to me 'you need to release more people.' “I am saying to the legislature and to Ms. Owens now, “Please, release more people.”
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  #25  
Old 01-27-2009, 10:17 PM
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Are you thinking of making this into a petition?
It would be a very good one, I think--I know I would sign it!
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