Austin, Texas
                    FISCAL NOTE, 77th Regular Session
                              March 6, 2001
          TO:  Honorable Pat Haggerty, Chair, House Committee on
        FROM:  John Keel, Director, Legislative Budget Board
       IN RE:  HB174  by Lewis, Glenn (Relating to requiring the Board
               of Pardons and Paroles and parole panels of the Board of
               Pardons and Paroles to meet to perform duties.), As
*  Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for    *
*  HB174, As Introduced:  negative impact of $(57,098,088) through       *
*  the biennium ending August 31, 2003.                                  *
*                                                                        *
*  The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal      *
*  basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of    *
*  the bill.                                                             *
General Revenue-Related Funds, Five-Year Impact:
          *  Fiscal Year  Probable Net Positive/(Negative)   *
          *               Impact to General Revenue Related  *
          *                             Funds                *
          *       2002                        $(17,845,658)  *
          *       2003                         (39,252,430)  *
          *       2004                         (53,893,888)  *
          *       2005                         (66,998,757)  *
          *       2006                         (78,921,965)  *
All Funds, Five-Year Impact:
*Fiscal    Probable Savings/(Cost) from     Change in Number of State     *
* Year         General Revenue Fund           Employees from FY 2001      *
*                      0001                                               *
*  2002                     $(17,845,658)                             5.0 *
*  2003                      (39,252,430)                             6.0 *
*  2004                      (53,893,888)                             4.0 *
*  2005                      (66,998,757)                             5.0 *
*  2006                      (78,921,965)                             5.0 *
Fiscal Analysis
The bill would require that the Board of Pardons and Paroles meet as a
body to perform the members' duties in clemency matters, and it would
require members of a parole panel to meet as a body to perform the
members' duties.  The bill would also repeal Section 551.124, Government
Code, which allowed the Board of Pardons and Paroles to conduct a
hearing on clemency matters by telephone conference call.
Although the bill would require additional meeting space and travel for
members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the primary estimated fiscal
impact would be due to the amount of time that would be devoted to
meetings and the negative impact this would have on time devoted to
reviewing case materials.  The Criminal Justice Policy Council estimates
that the Board of Pardons and Paroles was responsible for over 143,000
case decisions during fiscal year 2000.  Assuming that the majority
(140,000) of these cases could be determined by a three-member panel
rather than the entire Board, would mean that each three-member panel
would have to decide, on average, 23,333 cases each year or approximately
450 cases each week.  Even a conservative estimate of only two minutes
per decision, indicates that the parole panels would have to meet for 15
hours each week just to render decisions as a body.

Capacity Impact

The Criminal Justice Policy Council has projected 21,766 releases on
parole and mandatory supervision during fiscal year 2002 under current
procedures.  Assuming the additional meeting requirement results in a ten
percent decrease in the number of offenders considered and released on
parole and mandatory supervision, it is projected that there would be an
additional 2,531 inmates in prison at the end of the first year.
Assuming these releases would have been evenly distributed across the
year gives an estimated increase in average inmate population of 1,266.
At an average cost of $40 per day, the estimated cost of the additional
capacity is $18,477,760.  A simulation model is used to estimate the
decrease in the number of releases from prison in subsequent years.
Included in the estimated costs are projected savings for parole
supervision due to fewer inmates being released on parole.  The backlog
in prisons would continue to grow over time until offenders were
discharged as a result of completing their full sentences.  This scenario
assumes that the meeting time devoted to each case would be minimal and
that current decision rates would not be affected by the meeting process.
A scenario by the Criminal Justice Policy Council has assumed up to a
75 percent reduction in parole and mandatory supervision considerations
due to the meeting requirement.

Due Process

The Office of the Attorney General has indicated that the new meeting
requirements under the provisions of the bill may be construed as a new
due process right.  Even if this were not the intent of the legislation,
litigation could ensue if inmates and their attorneys perceive a new
right to a public proceeding which could include a right to be present
and to present evidence and witnesses at these hearings.  The Office of
the Attorney General estimates costs of $284,476 in fiscal year 2002 (5
full-time-equivalent positions), $313,619 in fiscal year 2003 (6 FTEs),
$196,724 in fiscal year 2004 (4 FTEs), $245,741 in fiscal year 2005 (5
FTEs), and $245,741 in fiscal year 2006 (5 FTEs) to defend litigation
which could result from the bill.  If litigation finds that meetings
must be performed as hearings, the time that would have to be devoted to
each case would exceed the time assumptions used in this estimate,
resulting in greater costs to the state than indicated in this fiscal
Local Government Impact
No significant fiscal implication to units of local government is
Source Agencies:   302   Office of the Attorney General, 696   Texas
                   Department of Criminal Justice, 410   Criminal
                   Justice Policy Council
LBB Staff:         JK, JC, VS, DB