After two months of secretive wrangling over the parole of youthful violent-crime offenders, much of it about avoiding blame if one of them commits a new crime, Texas officials have approved freedom for less than a dozen, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The details of who’s getting out and for what crime are secret. State Board of Pardons and Paroles Chairwoman Rissie Owens said a special parole review panel approved the conditions of release for at least nine 19- and 20-year-old offenders. “Let me make it clear that the Youth Commission determined who would be paroled, not the parole board. The parole board just approved the conditions” of that release, she said.
An official said that once the youths are “received into the (adult) system, I think we can release the information.” At that point, though, it is likely they already will be on the street. Adult parole officials balked in July because of the violent nature of the youths’ crimes and the fact that many had poor behavioral records while in Youth Commission lockups. Under a state law that took effect in June, more than 150 19- and 20-year-old offenders in Youth Commission lockups had to be moved out – either to an adult prison or to the adult parole system. Crime victims’ advocacy groups called the releases ill-advised and said the public should have full information about who was being released and when before they showed back up in towns and cities across Texas.