Tell (McReynolds) it ain't gonna happen," said Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat who authored the state jail law. "We created this system to take all the low-level drug offenders and property criminals out of state prisons so we'd have enough room to keep the violent offenders behind bars longer. The system has worked well.
"It would be a disaster to do away with state jails."
If the State Jail laws are seriously being looked at, would it be possible to get the enhancement provisions in 12.42 fixed? It seems grossly unfair that a Defendant convicted of two Burglary Habitations on the same day and sent to TDC, who then gets out and commits a Theft from Person cannot be enhanced, but a similarly situated Defendant with two Burglary Building convictions is enhanced. I have never understood why this has not been corrected.
$$$ > logic
Keep this equation handy anytime you are pondering legislation.
In general, the legislature was reluctant to provide for any ability to enhance a SJF to a higher punishment. The idea was to limit the use of prison space to violent or repeat offenders who represent a serious threat to the community. Pretty hard to define that in enhancements. And, as Shannon suggests (in his oh-so-arch way), any additional enhancements will cost money.
But, keep this in mind. As bad as property offenders, even repeat offenders, can be, the public fears violent offenders even more and wants them locked up the longest. Personally, I can see locking up both of them. But, then, I don't vote on state budgets.
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