Texas has had national recognition for its innovative prison treatment and rehabilitation programs, but it provides almost none of that for its toughest, most violent convicts who have spent years in solitary confinement, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Prison officials acknowledged that 878 convicts were released last year directly from administrative segregation onto the street, and only a few received any treatment or rehabilitation.
Members of a Senate committee yesterday pushed prison officials to come up with a plan to provide such programs for many more of the 8,100 convicts who are in administrative segregation in Texas’ 111 state prisons. Convicts in administrative segregation spend 23 hours a day locked in their cells. Barring trouble, they get out one hour a day for recreation and to shower, officials said. “So these people were too dangerous to be in general population in a prison, but they are being released directly into our neighborhoods with no supervision?” asked Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire. “That’s scary. We need to review this whole process.” Officials said the toughest convicts are the hardest to provide programs for safely.