Critics of a House-passed plan to improve Texas’ probation system says that it would free nearly 50,000 felons and trigger a crime wave, says the Austin American-Statesman. The author of the bill, House Corrections Committee Chairman Jerry Madden declares, “That number’s just wrong.” Yet Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, who, like other prosecutors who oppose the changes, says it will release too many felons too early from supervision. “It isn’t reform. It’s early release for felons,” he said.
Prosecutors cite a legislative analysis saying that more than 49,300 felons will be dropped from probation during the next two years if the measure passes, saving taxpayers more than $44 million in supervision costs and allowing probation officers to focus supervision on the offenders who need it the most. The goal of the reform plan is to keep about 3,000 felons from going to prison during the next two years for not following the rules of probation. It is scheduled for a Senate hearing this week.