For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 25, 2021
Contact: [email protected]
CRIME VICTIMS APPLAUD AS PROBATION REFORM BILL PASSES TEXAS SENATE IN BIPARTISAN VOTE
HB 385, Aiming to Improve the Probation System to Reduce Recidivism, Passes Senate
Recent Report Finds the State’s Probation System Cost Texans an Additional $85 Million Annually Without Improving Public Safety
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Crime survivors and criminal justice advocates today applauded the Texas Senate’s passage of HB 385 in a bipartisan vote. The bill, which already passed the Texas House of Representatives unanimously, would reform the state’s probation system, ensuring that Texans on probation are able to focus on rehabilitation to reduce recidivism, while creating safer communities and saving taxpayer money. The Alliance for Safety and Justice, alongside Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice’s members in Texas, advocated for the legislation for over a year and released the following statements in response to the bill’s passage.
“Today’s vote in the Texas Senate is a victory for those seeking safer communities and for an improved probation system,” said Terra Tucker, Texas State Director of the Alliance for Safety and Justice. “HB 385 is a common sense approach that ensures that people on probation can work towards rehabilitation while becoming productive, working, taxpaying members of their communities, while reducing the chances that they will return to prison. We thank Senator Bryan Hughes, Representative Leo Pacheco and Speaker Phelan for spearheading these critical reforms, as well as the bi-partisan coalition of Senators who voted in support of safer communities in Texas.”
“For over a year, crime victims like myself have spoken up for an updated probation system that makes Texas safer, and today our elected officials have brought us one step closer to making it possible,” said Amber Beam, a Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice member who experienced Texas’ probation system firsthand. “I’m a domestic violence survivor and a mother who has struggled with addiction, while also experiencing how difficult it can be to keep up with fines and fees. I thank legislators for voting to ensure a criminal justice system that focuses on effective rehabilitation, as well as accountability – that is the key to keeping us safe and saving lives.”
In November, the Alliance for Safety and Justice 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.
HB 385 – which was championed in the Texas House by Representative Leo Pacheco and was on the House Speaker’s Smarter Justice, Safer Texas bi-partisan criminal justice and safety priorities list – is a first step in resolving some of the issues in Texas’ probation system that 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 – effectively reducing recidivism and ending cycles of crime while saving taxpayer dollars.
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, with thousands of members in Texas. For more information, visit https://