Nearly a year after Hurricane Katrina struck, Louisiana has finally begun to account for nearly 1,300 criminals it says came to Texas and applied for federal emergency relief, says the Houston Chronicle. Texas officials think as many as 1,700 are in that category. Scores of Katrina parolees and probationers appear to remain unaccounted for and unsupervised. Chairman John Whitmire of the state Senate Criminal Justice Committee says that is unacceptable. “We should have been a little more diligent about who we let off the bus,” Whitmire said.
Louisiana sent a list to Texas that says 300 have returned home. It says warrants have been issued for 249 while 150 have had their cases closed but provides no details. “My guess is they gave us a data dump,” said Kathie Winckler, commissioner for the Texas Interstate Compact Office, which supervises the transfer of parolees and probationers between Texas and other states. Texas is powerless to arrest parole violators from Louisiana unless asked to do so by Louisiana, or unless they commit new crimes in Texas. “That can’t be,” Whitmire said. Kathy Walt, Gov. Rick Perry’s spokeswoman, called on Louisiana to take back “all those under supervision” who fled to Texas. “The bottom line is Louisiana has been dragging its feet.”