For Immediate Release: Friday, April 30, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
CRIME SURVIVORS APPLAUD TEXAS HOUSE PASSAGE OF PROBATION REFORMS TO IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY
HB 385 – Bipartisan Legislation that Fixes Texas’ Costly and Ineffective Probation System – Passed the Texas House of Representatives with a Vote of 131-0
AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas House of Representatives today passed groundbreaking reforms to the state’s probation system, which aims to improve public safety and reduce costs. House Bill 385 (Rep. Pacheco – San Antonio), which passed with bipartisan support, will ensure that those on probation focus on rehabilitation, rather than arbitrary conditions, to effectively reduce recidivism and end the cycle of crime in communities throughout the state. The Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) and its Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice network in Texas released the following statements:
“Today, lawmakers voted to improve safety, reduce recidivism, and save taxpayer funds by making probation in Texas more effective,” said Terra Tucker, Texas State Director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “We thank Speaker Phelan and Rep. Pacheco, who championed this legislation, as well as every lawmaker who voted for HB 385. This bill would help ensure that those on probation engage in a more effective form of rehabilitation that ends the cycle of crime and holds people accountable. The Senate should urgently pass this legislation this session to make our probation system safer and more effective.”
“As a domestic violence survivor who has struggled with addiction, I know how difficult it can be to get your life back on track,” said Amber Beam, a Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice member who experienced Texas’ probation system firsthand. “While on probation for drug possession, it was challenging to keep up with fines and fees while also trying to raise a family and keep them safe. I’m grateful to lawmakers who took action today to ensure that our criminal justice focuses resources on actually keeping us safe. We all deserve a chance at rehabilitation and an opportunity to be held accountable.”
In November, the Alliance for Safety and Justice (ASJ) released a report finding that one out of six people who entered the Texas prison system did so because of a technical violation of their probation requirements. The report also found that flaws to the state’s probation system end up costing Texans at least an additional $85 million annually without making the state safer.
House Bill 385 is a first step in resolving some of the problems in Texas’ probation system, outlined in ASJ’s report, that waste taxpayer dollars and undermine the safety of Texas families. The legislation dramatically improves Texas’ probation system by taking into consideration a person’s ability to pay fines and fees and equipping judges with the tools they need to help people succeed – all while saving taxpayer dollars. The legislation, which was prioritized by House Speaker Phelan and Speaker Pro-Tem Moody as part of the House’s Smarter Justice, Safer Texas package, now heads to the Texas Senate for consideration before session adjourns at the end of May.
ABOUT THE ALLIANCE FOR SAFETY AND JUSTICE
The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a national organization that aims to win new safety priorities in states across the country. It partners with leaders to advance state reform through networking, coalition building, research, education, and advocacy. It also brings together diverse crime survivors to advance policies that help communities most harmed by crime and violence, as part of Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice – its national network of over 46,000 crime survivors. For more information, visit https://allianceforsafetyandjustice.org.