The Senate Finance Committee is concluding its hearings on funding issues. It will then prepare its budget recommendations for the full Senate consideration. Commissioners Court members should voice their concerns about this funding proposal as soon as possible. Please provide your legislators with information on the cost of these issues to your county taxpayers.
Jail Backlog – CJCAT is requesting reimbursement from the State of Texas for the expenses incurred due to backlogs of prisoners that are held in our county jails awaiting transfer to state facilities.
Mental Health Beds
- 1,049 incompetent jail inmates are being held for maximum security beds with an average wait time of 699 days.
- 1,496 incompetent jail inmates are being held for non-maximum beds with an average wait time of 227 days.
- $285 per day is the average cost of a jail inmate awaiting transfer to a mental health facility.
- 1,910 technical parole violators are being held in county jails awaiting a hearing or transfer to state prisons.
- 2,443 convicted state prisoners are being held in county jails awaiting transfer to state prisons
- 4,073 immigrant detainees are being held in county jails awaiting processing
CJCAT Request: The state is currently shifting over $500 million per year in state prison and mental facility costs onto county taxpayers. Although the proposed increased funding in the base budget is appreciated, more funding directed to the counties for services such as competency restoration is required to alleviate the current crisis. If the state does not accept its inmates and mental patients, it should compensate the county taxpayers for this cost, providing direct property tax relief to the county property taxpayer.
Indigent Defense – The cost of providing criminal indigent defense has consistently been one of the most expensive and increasing mandates that counties are forced to fund with county property tax dollars. The current base budget includes a decrease in funding due to reduced collections in court fees. However, the TIDC legislative appropriation request includes an additional $11.4 million to replace these lost revenues and $70 million in new funding for rural county public defender offices.
- 2022 TIDC estimates report counties spending more than $300 million per year
- 222 percent increase in county criminal indigent defense spending since 2001
CJCAT Request: An additional $100 million per year to bring the cost for indigent criminal defense to a 50/50 split with the state, providing direct property tax relief to the county taxpayer.
Child Protective Services – Court Appointed Attorneys
Texas counties are required to pay appointed counsel for indigent parents and children in CPS proceedings. Over 16,000 removal proceedings were initiated by the Department of Family Protective Services in 2021. No state funding was provided to offset the cost to the county property tax payer.
CJCAT Request: Appropriate $63 million to provide 100 percent funding, providing direct property tax relief to the county property taxpayer.
Senate Finance email list:
Sen. Joan Huffman firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Chuy Hinojosa email@example.com
Chair Paul Bettencourt firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Pete Flores email@example.com
Sen. Bob Hall firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Kelley Hancock email@example.com
Sen. Bryan Hughes firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst email@example.com
Sen. Robert Nichols firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Angela Paxton email@example.com
Sen. Charles Perry firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Charles Schwertner email@example.com
Sen. Royce West firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. John Whitmire email@example.com
Sen. Judith. Zaffirini firstname.lastname@example.org