Bill Text: TX HB1271 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the award of good conduct time to certain inmates; changing parole eligibility.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-31 - Filed [HB1271 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-HB1271-Introduced.html
  86R2269 JRR-F
 
  By: Thompson of Harris H.B. No. 1271
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the award of good conduct time to certain inmates;
  changing parole eligibility.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 498.003, Government Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a), (b), (d), and (e) and adding Subsection
  (f) to read as follows:
         (a)  Good conduct time applies only to eligibility for parole
  or mandatory supervision as provided by Section 508.145 or 508.147
  and does not otherwise affect an inmate's term. Good conduct time
  is a privilege and not a right. The [Regardless of the
  classification of an inmate, the] department may grant good conduct
  time to an [the] inmate only for:
               (1)  demonstrating good behavior by complying with all
  applicable department rules; or
               (2)  diligently participating in a program described by
  Subsection (d) or (f) [if the department finds that the inmate is
  actively engaged in an agricultural, vocational, or educational
  endeavor, in an industrial program or other work program, or in a
  treatment program, unless the department finds that the inmate is
  not capable of participating in such a program or endeavor].
         (b)  An inmate accrues good conduct time described by
  Subsection (a)(1) according to the inmate's classification in
  amounts as follows:
               (1)  20 days for each 30 days actually served while the
  inmate is classified as a trusty, except that the department may
  award the inmate not more than 10 extra days for each 30 days
  actually served;
               (2)  20 days for each 30 days actually served while the
  inmate is classified as a Class I inmate; and
               (3)  10 days for each 30 days actually served while the
  inmate is classified as a Class II inmate.
         (d)  An inmate may accrue good conduct time, in an amount
  determined by the department that does not exceed 15 days for each
  30 days actually served, for diligent participation in an
  industrial program or other work program or for participation in an
  agricultural, educational, [or] vocational, or treatment program
  provided to inmates by the department. For the purposes of this
  subsection, the term "participation in an educational program"
  includes the participation of the inmate as a tutor or a pupil in a
  literacy program authorized by Section 501.005. The department may
  not award good conduct time under this subsection for participation
  in a literacy program unless the department determines that the
  inmate participated in good faith and with diligence as a tutor or
  pupil.
         (e)  If an inmate was [a person is] confined in a county jail,
  the department shall award good conduct time to the inmate [person]
  up to an amount equal to the amount earned by an inmate in the entry
  level time earning class.
         (f)  The department shall award good conduct time to an
  inmate [a defendant] for diligently participating, while confined
  in a county jail, [diligent participation] in a voluntary work
  program operated by a sheriff under Article 43.101, Code of
  Criminal Procedure, in the same manner as if the inmate had
  diligently participated in an industrial program or other work
  program provided to inmates by the department. The sheriff of each
  county shall have attached a certification of the number of days
  each inmate diligently participated in the volunteer work program
  operated by the sheriff under Article 43.101, Code of Criminal
  Procedure.
         SECTION 2.  Section 508.046, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 508.046.  EXTRAORDINARY VOTE REQUIRED.  To release on
  parole an inmate who was convicted of an offense under Section
  20A.03, 21.02, 21.11(a)(1), or 22.021, Penal Code, or who is
  serving a sentence under Section 12.42(c)(2), Penal Code [required
  under Section 508.145(c) to serve 35 calendar years before becoming
  eligible for release on parole], all members of the board must vote
  on the release on parole of the inmate, and at least two-thirds of
  the members must vote in favor of the release on parole. A member of
  the board may not vote on the release unless the member first
  receives a copy of a written report from the department on the
  probability that the inmate would commit an offense after being
  released on parole.
         SECTION 3.  Sections 508.145(b) and (c), Government Code,
  are amended to read as follows:
         (b)  An inmate serving a life sentence under Section
  12.31(a)(1), Penal Code, for a capital felony is not eligible for
  release on parole until the actual calendar time the inmate has
  served plus good conduct time described by Section 498.003(a)(2),
  without consideration of any other good conduct time, equals 40
  calendar years.
         (c)  An inmate serving a sentence under Section 12.42(c)(2),
  Penal Code, is not eligible for release on parole until the actual
  calendar time the inmate has served plus good conduct time
  described by Section 498.003(a)(2), without consideration of any
  other good conduct time, equals 35 calendar years.
         SECTION 4.  Section 508.145(d)(2), Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
               (2)  An inmate described by Subdivision (1) is not
  eligible for release on parole until the inmate's actual calendar
  time served plus good conduct time described by Section
  498.003(a)(2), without consideration of any other good conduct
  time, equals one-half of the sentence or 30 calendar years,
  whichever is less, but in no event is the inmate eligible for
  release on parole in less than two calendar years.
         SECTION 5.  The change in law made by this Act applies to any
  inmate who is confined in a facility operated by or under contract
  with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on or after the
  effective date of this Act, regardless of whether the offense for
  which the inmate is confined occurred before, on, or after the
  effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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