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News News
Interim Charges for House Committees
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 3/10/2014 Views: 833  Impressions: 7417
Categories: Government, Politics



This week I will discuss the interim charges recently issued to the House Committee on Corrections. Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. The charges are good indicators of what legislation the legislature will take up during the next session. Legislators rely on public input when crafting legislation, and it is important that they hear from people during the interim.

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONS:

* Study and review the correctional facilities and processes within Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Texas Juvenile Justice Department with emphasis on efficiencies, effectiveness, and recidivism. Examine the existing programmatic approach per facility in the areas of the vocation, education, visitation, rehabilitation, health and mental health services, parole supervision, and reentry initiatives. Evaluate opportunities for partnerships between facilities and private industries to offer education, job training, and potential employment for offenders during incarceration, parole, and final release.
* Examine the association between co-occurring serious mental illness and substance use disorders and parole revocation among inmates from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Review current policies and procedures for incarcerating individuals with a dual mental health diagnosis in both state and county correctional facilities and examine potential remedies within the State's criminal justice system to ensure that the public is protected and that individuals with a mental health diagnosis receive a continuum of mental health services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence)
* In the area of Juvenile Justice, analyze and make recommendations on outcome-based financing models that allow the state to partner with private investors and innovative service providers willing to cover the upfront costs and assume performance risk to divert youths into cost-effective programs and interventions, while assuring that taxpayers will not pay for the programs unless the programs demonstrate success in achieving the desired outcomes.
* Assess the impact of school discipline and school-based policing on referrals to the municipal, justice, and juvenile courts, and identify judicial policies or initiatives designed to reduce referrals without having a negative impact on school safety. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Education)
* Monitor the administration of the Correctional Managed Health Care system and examine forecasts for short and long-term criminal justice populations and health care cost trends. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Appropriations)
* Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 83rd Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.

The House Committee on Corrections can be reached at 512-463-0796. For more information on these charges or any other matter of state government, please contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by emailing me at larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us. My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.




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