Bill Text: TX SB155 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the release on parole of certain inmates convicted of an offense committed when younger than 18 years of age; changing parole eligibility.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-11-12 - Filed [SB155 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB155-Introduced.html
  86R670 JG-D
 
  By: Rodríguez S.B. No. 155
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the release on parole of certain inmates convicted of an
  offense committed when younger than 18 years of age; changing
  parole eligibility.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 508.046, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 508.046.  EXTRAORDINARY VOTE REQUIRED. To release on
  parole an inmate who is serving a sentence for [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 2.  Subchapter E, Chapter 508, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 508.1415 to read as follows:
         Sec. 508.1415.  ADDITIONAL PAROLE CONSIDERATIONS FOR
  YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS. (a) This section applies only to the
  consideration for release on parole of an inmate who:
               (1)  is eligible for release on parole; and
               (2)  was younger than 18 years of age at the time the
  offense for which the inmate is eligible for release on parole was
  committed.
         (b)  In determining whether to release an inmate described by
  Subsection (a) on parole, a parole panel shall assess the growth and
  maturity of the inmate, taking into consideration:
               (1)  the diminished culpability of juveniles as
  compared to that of adults; and
               (2)  the hallmark features of youth.
         (c)  In assessing an inmate's growth and maturity, a parole
  panel shall consider the following information about the inmate:
               (1)  age at the time of the offense;
               (2)  developmental stage at the time of the offense;
               (3)  family and community environment;
               (4)  ability to appreciate the risks and consequences
  of the conduct;
               (5)  intellectual capacity;
               (6)  if presented to the panel, the outcome of a
  comprehensive mental health evaluation that:
                     (A)  is conducted by an expert unaffiliated with
  the board, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatric
  mental health advanced practice registered nurse, who is qualified
  by education and clinical training in adolescent mental health
  issues; and
                     (B)  may include:
                           (i)  family interviews;
                           (ii)  family history;
                           (iii)  prenatal history;
                           (iv)  developmental history;
                           (v)  medical history;
                           (vi)  history of treatment for substance
  use;
                           (vii)  social history; and
                           (viii)  a psychological evaluation;
               (7)  peer or familial pressure;
               (8)  level of participation in the offense;
               (9)  inability to effectively communicate with defense
  counsel or to participate meaningfully in the defense of the case;
               (10)  capacity for or demonstrations of
  rehabilitation;
               (11)  school records and special education
  evaluations;
               (12)  trauma history;
               (13)  faith and community involvement;
               (14)  involvement in the child welfare system; and
               (15)  any other mitigating factor or circumstance.
         (d)  The board shall adopt a policy establishing factors for
  a parole panel to consider when reviewing for release on parole an
  inmate to whom this section applies to ensure that the inmate is
  provided a meaningful opportunity to obtain release. The policy
  must allow persons having knowledge of the inmate before the inmate
  committed the offense for which the inmate is eligible for parole or
  having knowledge of the inmate's growth and maturity after the
  offense was committed to submit statements regarding the inmate to
  the parole panel, including:
               (1)  family members and friends of the inmate;
               (2)  school personnel;
               (3)  faith leaders; and
               (4)  representatives of community-based organizations.
         (e)  This section does not affect the rights granted under
  this chapter or Article 56.02, Code of Criminal Procedure, to a
  victim, guardian of a victim, or close relative of a deceased
  victim.
         SECTION 3.  Section 508.145, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (d-2) to read as follows:
         (d-2)(1)  This subsection applies only to an inmate who:
                     (A)  is serving a sentence for:
                           (i)  a capital or first degree felony
  described by Article 42A.054(a), Code of Criminal Procedure;
                           (ii)  an offense under Section 20A.03,
  21.02, or 71.023, Penal Code; or
                           (iii)  a first degree felony under Section
  71.02, Penal Code; and
                     (B)  was younger than 18 years of age at the time
  the offense was committed.
               (2)  Notwithstanding any other subsection of this
  section, an inmate described by Subdivision (1) is not eligible for
  release on parole until the inmate's actual calendar time served,
  without consideration of good conduct time, equals one-half of the
  sentence or 20 calendar years, whichever is less, but in no event is
  the inmate eligible for release on parole in less than two calendar
  years.
         SECTION 4.  Sections 499.053(d) and 508.145(b), Government
  Code, are repealed.
         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 immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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