Probation revocations for technical violations are a major contributor to the prison population in Texas. Policymakers should limit such revocations and revamp the probation funding formula to incentivize better outcomes.

Key points:

  • The primary problem to address in Texas is felony-level technical revocations from probation, which are not subject to a cap on how much time a person would serve upon being revoked.
  • Probation leaders say many of their clients opt against residential drug treatment and choose revocation to state jail because it would get them out of any form of correctional control more quickly.
  • Texas must also move away from basing state funding of probation departments primarily on how many people are being directly supervised at any given time.
  • Texas should transition to a more performance-based funding approach that encourages innovating ways to both reduce revocations to prison and terminate supervision early for those who have been compliant.