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Bill Proposes Restricted Hours for Inmate Releases

By Laura Nicholes
TAC Legislative Staff

SB 1014 by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) (identical to HB 3305) is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, April 5 in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. The bill, supported by an inmates’ advocacy group, seeks to establish in law times for inmates to be released from jails. The idea has been discussed at recent workshops held by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) where sheriffs, judges, commissioners and jail administrators in attendance expressed concerns with the proposal.

The bill would amend Chapter 511, Government Code, to require the TCJS to adopt rules establishing the time of day in which inmates, other than those being released on bond, may be discharged or released from county jails and would require detailed records be kept on any inmate released between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., excluding certain circumstances.

who are familiar with the proposal have stated that adding this item as a minimum jail standard exceeds the scope and authority of the Commission by overreaching into the independently elected sheriff's operational policies and procedures. This is one more standard, they say, for which a jail could be found in non-compliance and reaches beyond the reasons the jail commission was established — to ensure constitutional conditions for confinement and to ensure county jails conform to minimum standards of construction, maintenance and operation.

The meeting has been set for 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 5 in the Capitol Extension, Room E1.016. Written testimony may also be submitted. For additional information, please contact TAC Legislative Staffer Laura Nicholes at (800) 456-5974 or .