AUSTIN – Today the Foundation cheered passage of HB 1790, a state jails reform bill, through the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 88 to 45. The bill would allow those convicted of a state jail felony currently on probation to apply for a reduction in the classification of their offense to a Class A misdemeanor. This would only be possible after a few years of successful probation.
The bill would not change the punishments for state jail offenses, since offenders can still be placed on probation or incarcerated for the same maximum time periods. Also, HB 1790 would exclude all state jail felonies that involve crimes against a person or domestic violence.
Marc Levin, Director of the Center for Effective Justice commented,“This legislation modeled after an effective law in Utah provides an important incentive for those on probation to successfully complete all of the terms of their supervision, including paying any restitution owed to a victim.
Research has shown that such incentives result in a 46% increase in compliance with probation conditions, which benefits public safety, victims, taxpayers, and offenders. We encourage the Senate to act on this bill that will build on Texas’ recent success in cost-effectively cutting crime.”
The Foundation encourages the Texas Senate to take up this important legislation soon, so that Texas can continue to lead the nation when it comes to conservative criminal justice reform.
Marc Levin is Director of the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.