Basic Facts

Probation & Other Diversions

  • Texas has 121 adult probation departments.1
  • Nearly 420,000 men and women are on probation (also called “community supervision”) in Texas, with almost 275,000 on direct supervision (requiring face-to-face contact with a probation officer).2
  • 83% of these individuals are on direct supervision for a nonviolent offense.3
  • The average cost to the state to supervise a probationer is $1.56 per day.4 This is far cheaper than a prison bed ($51 per day5) or jail bed ($59 per day6). Ultimately, the cost of 10 days in prison is equal to over 10 months on probation.
  • Women make up 28% of all Texas probationers, with men making up the remaining 72%.7
  • Probation revocations were responsible for sending 32% of individuals to Texas prisons during FY 2010.8 About half of probation violators are sent to confinement for technical violations such as missing a fee payment or a meeting, not new crimes.9
  • Community supervision along with drug treatment programs cost an average of $3,908 per client per year, far less than a prison term ($18,538 per year).10
  • Just 9% of the state’s annual $3 billion corrections budget goes towards probation and other diversions from incarceration11 that are more effective and less expensive.12
  • In FY 2010, health insurance premiums accounted for 27% of probation departments’ basic supervision budgets. If insurance premiums continue to rise, payments for health insurance could account for 41% of basic supervision budgets in FY 2015, leaving only 59% of the budgets to cover department operations and the provision of services to probationers.13
  • Between FY 1998 and FY 2012, the number of authorized staff positions at the Community Justice Assistance Division (the probation system’s oversight agency) fell from 116 to 74 as a result of budget cuts.14

Prisons & State Jails

  • Texas has 94 prison units.15
  • Texas has 20 state jail facilities,16 which largely house people with drug and property offenses.
  • In FY 2010, a total of 42,858 individuals were admitted to state prisons and 23,537 were admitted to state jails.17
  • Altogether, approximately 155,000 men and women are in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) facilities, with more than 140,000 currently in prison units,18 costing an average of $18,538 per individual per year.19
  • Of those in TDCJ facilities, approximately 12,000 are in state jail.20 Housing people in state jails costs the state $43 per bed per day,21 or $515,000 daily for all individuals housed there.
  • Approximately 8% of all TDCJ inmates are female and 92% are male.22
  • As of August 2011, nearly 95,000 individuals incarcerated in Texas prisons self-reported as having children.23
  • Of the entire TDCJ population, 48.5% are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses,24 costing taxpayers almost $4 million per day.2
  • Furthermore, approximately 80% of individuals entering TDCJ in FY 2010 were nonviolent.26
  • In FY 2010, more than 22,000 individuals (just over 30% of incoming inmates) were admitted to TDCJ for a drug offense,27 and over 70% of those individuals were charged with possession, as opposed to delivery or other offenses.28

1 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Community Supervision & Corrections Department Directory For the State of Texas;” available at www.tdcj.state.tx.us/documents/CSCD_directory.pdf.

2 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” p. 6.

3 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” p. 6; totaling Property Offense, Drug Offense, DWI/DUI, and “Other” data for individuals on direct supervision.

4 Legislative Budget Board, “Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, Fiscal Years 2008-2010,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2011, pp. 11-12, 37-38; $1.56 calculated using average number of offenders by program and cost of each program.

5 Legislative Budget Board, “Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, Fiscal Years 2008-2010,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2011, p. 20; FY 2010 system-wide costs per day per bed total $50.79.

6 Brandon Wood, Assistant Director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, in presentation at American Bar Association, Criminal Justice Section, Roundtable on Pretrial Detention in Texas, held in Austin, Texas, Mar. 30, 2012.

7 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, pp. 1, 6 (figures as of Aug. 31, 2010; data regarding individuals on direct supervision).

8 Legislative Budget Board, “Statewide Criminal Justice Recidivism and Revocation Rates,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2010, p. 10.

9 Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Community Justice Assistance Division, “Report to the Governor and Legislative Budget Board on the Monitoring of Community Supervision Diversion Funds,” Dec. 1, 2010, p. 16. See also: Legislative Budget Board, “Statewide Criminal Justice Recidivism and Revocation Rates,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2010, p. 10. The average technical probation violation revocation rate between 2006 and 2010 was 49.5%.

10 LBB, Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, pp. 6, 11, 12 (using FY 2010 average system-wide prison costs-per-bed-per-day of $50.79; state costs-per-day for community supervision of $1.30 alone plus an average state costs-per-day for non-residential substance abuse treatment programs of $9.41 equals $10.70. Treatment programs are an additional cost to probation. There are several types of probation but only basic community supervision (costing $1.30) will be coupled with a treatment program.)

11 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Agency Operating Budget 2012,” Prepared for the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, Aug. 2011, pp. 4, 5; available at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/documents/finance/Agency_Operating_Budget_FY... “Prison Diversions” total $277,236,527 (9%) and include basic supervision, diversion programs, community corrections, and treatment alternatives to incarceration.

12 Treatment programs combined with community supervision cost nearly five times less than incarceration. According to the Legislative Budget Board, Texas spends an average of $18,538 per year on each inmate, while community supervision along with drug treatment programs cost an average of $3,909 per client per year. Data from: Legislative Budget Board, “Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, Fiscal Years 2008-2010,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2011, pp. 6, 11, 12 (using FY 2010 system-wide costs per day per bed of $50.79; and FY 2010 costs per day per individual for basic supervision of $1.30, plus state costs-per-day for non-residential substance abuse treatment programs of $9.41 [equaling $10.71]). Also note: Treatment combined with cognitive skills programming can decrease criminal behavior by 44%, while incarceration can increase an individual’s inclination towards criminal activity by .07%; from: Judge Marion F. Edwards, “Reduce Recidivism in DUI Offenders: Add a Cognitive-Behavioral Program Component,” 2006, p. 3.

13 Mike Wolfe, Probation Advisory Committee Chair, “Recommendation Response to Sunset Advisory Commission: on behalf of the Probation Advisory Committee’s (PAC),” Dec. 14, 2011, submitted via email to Sunset Advisory Commission.

14 Criminal Justice Assistance Division, “TDCJ-CJAD Authorized Positions FY 98 – FY 12,” Response to Official Request to the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, Dec. 12, 2011. Data available upon request.

15 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Unit Directory”; available at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory/index.html; this figure excludes Intermediate Sanction Facilities (ISFs) because they confine individuals under parole supervision and not individuals under TDCJ supervision.

16 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Unit Directory”; available at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory/index.html.

17 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” pp. 2, 21; available at http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/documents/Statistical_Report_2010.pdf.

18 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, p. 54; statistical figures as of May 2011.

19 LBB, Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, p. 6, using FY 2010 average system-wide prison costs-per-bed-per-day of $50.79.

20 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, p. 54.

21 Legislative Budget Board, “Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, Fiscal Years 2008-2010,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2011, p. 6; FY 2010 costs per day per bed at a state jail total $43.03.

22 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, pp. 54-55. Statistical figures as of May 2011.

23 Data gleaned from a TDCJ information request, 2011; actual number: 94,635. Note additionally: 8,150 inmates in state jails self-reported children, while 2,160 individuals in SAFP facilities self-reported children. Data available upon request.

24 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, p. 54; statistical figures as of May 2011.

25 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Self Evaluation Report,” Submitted to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, Aug. 2011, p. 54; statistical figures as of May 2011. See also: Legislative Budget Board, “Criminal Justice Uniform Cost Report, Fiscal Years 2008-2010,” Submitted to the 82nd Texas Legislature, Jan. 2011, p. 6, using FY 2010 costs-per-day, per bed (System-wide, State Jails, and Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facilities) for nonviolent populations, by category.

26 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” p. 2.

27 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” pp. 2, 21.

28 Texas Department of Criminal Justice, “Statistical Report, Fiscal Year 2010,” p. 21.