HBA-MSH, MPM H.B. 123 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 123 By: West, George "Buddy" Corrections 2/25/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE A large number of inmates in Texas prisons do not have a high school education. Currently, the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates a program to teach reading to illiterate inmates housed in its facilities. Illiterate inmates are required to receive reading instruction for a certain number of hours per week. No such requirement exists for inmates to participate in a program to receive a high school general equivalency certificate (certificate) while housed in TDCJ facilities. Requiring inmates to participate in a program to receive a high school education will increase their educational level and job skills prior to their release. House Bill 123 requires certain inmates of TDCJ without a high school diploma or certificate to participate in a program designed to help the inmate earn a certificate. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 123 amends the Government Code to provide that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) shall require an inmate without a high school diploma or general equivalency certificate (certificate) to participate in available educational programming designed to help the inmate earn a certificate. This provision is inapplicable to an inmate on death row or confined in administrative segregation or close custody. The bill authorizes TDCJ to waive the educational requirement provided by the bill if it determines that an the inmate lacks the learning ability to earn a certificate. TDCJ is authorized to limit participation in the program based on capacity and to assign inmates to participate on the basis of their release dates, using the TDCJ's individualized treatment plans. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.