Texas prosecutors are voicing concerns about the release of 550 juveniles from Texas Youth Commission facilities beginning this week. They say the decision sets a bad example and could spark an increase in crime, reports the Houston Chronicle. Jay Kimbrough, the commission’s new conservator, ordered the releases, saying the youths had served their sentences and were being warehoused in a system that failed to free them at the proper time. A special panel will begin reviewing the cases of at least 1,500 additional offenders to see if they’ve had their sentences improperly extended.
Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley called the plan “a political move, not a criminal justice move.” He added “There’s no question in my mind that crime will increase.” District attorneys should “relax,” said Kimbrough, a former aide to Gov. Rick Perry and former deputy attorney general for criminal justice. “Ain’t nobody ever called me soft on crime. You think I’m going to release people I’m afraid of?” Kimbrough said. “There are no murderers on the list and no sex offenders,” he said, adding that no one would be freed unless a “home plan” had been established. “They aren’t being dumped out on the street,” he said.