HB 650

86(R) - 2019
House Corrections
Senate Criminal Justice
House Corrections
Senate Criminal Justice
Criminal Justice

Vote Recommendation

Vote Yes; Amend
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


James White


Donna Howard
Stephanie Klick
Theresa Meza
Victoria Neave


John Whitmire

Bill Caption

Relating to female inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Fiscal Notes

The Legislative Budget Board does not anticipate any significant fiscal impact to the state. 

Bill Analysis

HB 650 would require training for correctional officers, employed at facilities which house females, on the medical and mental health care issues relating to pregnant inmates.

The bill would require the The Department of Corrections to conduct a study of the effect of visitation policies on the relationships between female inmates and their children. The study will review evidence-based visitation practices that enhance parental bonding and engagement, age-appropriate visitation activities for children that enhance cognitive, motor skills and consider implementing changes to the policies to strengthen the relationships between female inmates and their children.

HB 650 would require the Department of Corrections to provide each pregnant inmate educational programming related to appropriate prenatal care and hygiene, the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs on a developing fetus, parenting skills; and medical and mental health issues applicable to children. The bill would also require that searches conducted on female inmates or in an area where female inmates who are not fully clothed are present, to be conducted by female corrections officers. Body cavity searches of pregnant inmates would be required to be conducted by a medical professional. 

HB 650 would also prevent the use of restraints on pregnant inmates while they are pregnant or within 31 days after delivery. 

HB 650 would require that for 72 hours after the birth of an infant by an inmate the infant is allowed to remain with the inmate, unless a medical professional determines doing so would pose a health or safety risk. The inmate also must have access to any nutritional or hygiene-related products necessary to care for the infant, including diapers. The department shall make these items available free of charge to indigent inmates. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

We support HB 650 because it would help to ensure that pregnant inmates and defendants are treated properly and humanely. This is consistent with the proper function of a limited government. We do suggest an amendment regarding the study of visitation policies this bill would require. It should be amended to expand the study to consider visitation policies for all inmates or defendants who are parents, not only for female inmates or defendants who are parents. It is important for children to have contact and bond with mothers and fathers, not only mothers as this proposed study seems to suggest. 

Organizations Supporting

Texas Public Policy Foundation