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Senate Committee on Criminal Justice - 78th R.S. (2003)

Committee Members
John Whitmire, Chair
John Carona, Vice Chair
Tommy Williams, Vice Chair
Rodney Ellis
Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa
Steve Ogden
Bill Ratliff
Kel Seliger
Charges
• Study identity theft and its effects, and the impact of recent legislation addressing the issue (HB 2138, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, SB 473, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, and SB 566, 78th Legislature, Regular Session). Make recommendations for enhancing the Texas' ability to implement effective programs to prevent identity theft. Monitor federal legislation regarding identity theft to ensure that state and federal laws are complementary and make recommendations for improvements.
• Study and identify best practices for probation and community supervision programs including: the Community Justice Assistance Division; local probation management structure; the use of Drug Courts and the courts' impact on recidivism; programs to reduce underage drinking; mental health issues and continuity of care; use of the Community Supervision Tracking System (CSTS) and other data issues related to Criminal Justice information system components; and the implementation of HB 2668, 78th Legislature, Regular Session. Make recommendations for legislative changes to achieve best practices.
• Study the management efficiency and organizational structure of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, including implementation of recent restructuring by the TDCJ Board, and make recommendations on additional improvements, including possible consolidation of agency functions and other cost saving measures.
• Study the use and effectiveness of current parole guideline policies and make recommendations for changes to improve the policies. Develop innovative options that improve efficiency and enhance safe and effective correctional policy.
• Study and make recommendations relating to improving the use of specialized police agencies and officers, specifically, the necessity, accountability, qualifications, and jurisdictions of such police agencies.
• Review the Crime Victims Compensation Fund (Fund), including state and local competition, use in state agency methods of finance, evaluation of grant programs, possible diversion of funds from crime victims as a result of prior legislation, and whether the Fund meets the objectives of its authorizing legislation.
• Study the number of foreign citizens serving sentences in Texas prisons, including information relating to prison terms, recidivism, and types of offenses. Make recommendations for reducing the costs of providing prison services for this population, including leveraging of federal immigration funds and possible international agreements to pay home countries to transfer the prisoners to their respective countries to serve the remainder of their terms.
• Study and make recommendations concerning the cost effectiveness and efficiency of private prisons, including private services performed at state-owned prisons.

Note:
Charged by the Lieutenant Governor 1/21/2004. (Press Release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, January 21, 2004.)
Bill Ratliff (Member) resigned effective 1/10/2004.
Tommy Williams was removed from his position as Vice Chair and replaced as Vice Chair by John Carona, April 19, 2004. (Press Release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, April 19, 2004.
Kel Seliger appointed April 19, 2004. (Press Release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, April 19, 2004.

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