Tuesday, January 3, 2012

State Jail Diligent Participation

In 2007, when I was using the name CourTex for a quarterly newsletter, I wrote a special issue on state sentencing, and said this (p. 4) about the state jail innovation:
[A] correctional agency has an inherent interest in maintaining some otherwised unpopular features in state sentencing laws - good conduct time and parole - that provide "back end discretion" and therefore some behavioral incentive during incarceration.  This is the enduring lesson of the state jail scheme, which does not provide any such incentive, and has proved challenging to implement as a result.
Now that issue has been addressed by the legislature, and in turn by TDCJ.  In order to provide an incentive for state jail felons to participate in rehabilitation in accordance with HB 2649 from the 82nd Legislature, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will provide a progress report to the sentencing judge, which will include information such as name, date of birth, offense, sentence begin date, current discharge date, and diligent participation days. The sentencing judge may credit up to 20% of the offender's sentence for days served as long as the offender was diligently participating in a program and not subject to disciplinary action.

TDCJ's website has the following page with discussion and a link to further instructions, http://tdcj.state.tx.us/divisions/cid/cid_support_ops_class_HB2649.html, and this page can also be reached by clicking on the Online Services Tab on the TDCJ home page, http://tdcj.state.tx.us/ then choosing State Jail Diligent Participation towards the bottom of that page.

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