Tonight’s driving ban on some parolees will be monitored by a Houston state senator who wants to make sure that former prisoners are treated fairly as they try to rebuild their lives, the Houston Chronicle reports. Scores of paroleees from drunken driving and other alcohol-related offenses have been instructed to sign pledges that they won’t drive from 7 p.m. Dec. 31 to 6 a.m. Jan. 1. The policy amounts to a lockdown because 116 parole officers will be working statewide to randomly call and visit parolees to make sure they are home.
“Punishment is important, but rehabilitation is equally important,” said John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. “It appears that someone in TDCJ believes these folks should continue to be punished once they are out.” Kathy Shallcross of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said officers also will be checking on sex offenders and other high-risk parolees. She said 220 parolees with convictions for felony DWI, intoxication manslaughter, or intoxication assault who have failed a urinalysis in the past 30 days are being targeted. Failure to sign the no-driving pledge would be considered a technical violation that could result in their parole being revoked. Said Whitmire: “It’s a hell of a note that these same people they want to lock in their homes on New Year’s Eve were incarcerated for years with no treatment.”