Texas officials are negotiating to deport about 100 British citizens who are serving time in state prisons, a move they think could be the first step to freeing several thousand prison bunks and easing the looming crowding crisis, officials told the Austin American-Statesman. But the deal could get hung up if Gov. Rick Perry is unwilling to let Britain override Texas justice by letting some prisoners out on parole earlier than they would be sprung here.
The plan would renew an international prison transfer program begun in 1977. Texas participated until 1990, but since then only one foreign convict has been repatriated. The proposal is the latest in a series of maneuvers to empty bunks in Texas prisons to avoid having to build as many as 3,500 additional prison beds during the next few years. House and Senate leaders are also discussing beefed-up probation, community rehabilitation and drug-treatment programs.