SB 1576

85(R) - 2017
Senate Criminal Justice
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Procedure

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Charles Perry

Bill Caption

Relating to the civil commitment of sexually violent predators, the operation of the Texas Civil Commitment Office, and certain related offenses; increasing a criminal penalty. 

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

This bill would make several changes pertaining to the Texas Civil Commitment Office(TCCO). If this bill passes, personal information of employees of TCCO would not be subject to discovery by a person committed in the facility, they would also have the same confidentiality protections as peace officers and other employees of state agencies. This bill would also add TCCO to the list of agencies that may have certain information revealed, even if it has been ordered non-disclosed. They may also access criminal history record information for individuals who apply to act as a contact or chaperone for individuals who are committed as sexually violent predator. This bill would also make some procedural changes for members of the board, presiding officers, and rules. This bill also establishes a procedure for the use of restraints against individuals who are being committed, and tasks the TCCO with creating a policy for use of restraints in the facility.

This bill would require the department of public safety to adopt a memorandum of understanding with TCCO regarding the issuance of a personal identification certificate. If a committed person assaults an officer or employee while they are doing their job, or in retaliation for the employees performance, their penalty would be enhanced to third-degree felony. If this bill passes, and if a confined person harasses an employee of TCCO, they would be penalized with a third-degree felony. TCCO facilities would be subject to the same prohibited substances, and weapons rules as other correctional facilities.

Vote Recommendation Notes

Large parts of this bill are procedural and technical corrections to a comprehensive reform bill that was passed in the 84th Legislature, SB 746. 

In general, we oppose sentence enhancements however in this case we find a credible argument that supports the state's legitimate role. Due to the unique population being held in these facilities and the way the facilities are run, current offenders are abusing the law in order to get out of the facility. State law already protects state employees who are assaulted by the offenders, but contractors who play a critical role in this facility are not. This penalty enhancement would ensure that offenders are not able to abuse the system in order to get released into a separate facility where their behavior abnormality is intensified. 

Because this bill seeks to address a legitimate issue and concern pertaining to government duties and has no direct effect on our principles, we remain neutral on SB 1576.