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Relating to conditions of community supervision and procedures applicable to the reduction or termination of a defendant's period of community supervision.
The fiscal impact to the State cannot be determined due to the lack of data necessary to determine the number of people whose community supervision would be terminated early under the provisions of the bill.
HB 385 would make certain changes to community supervision. It would permit a judge who placed a defendant on community supervision to authorize the supervision officer or a magistrate to modify its conditions in order to prioritize the conditions according to the defendant’s needs and progress.
Conditions of a defendant's community supervision would not be able to include avoiding people or places of harmful character. HB 385 would only permit a judge to order a defendant to attend substance abuse counseling as part of their community supervision if the results of an evaluation indicate it is necessary to rehabilitate them or a controlled substance or alcohol was an element of their offense. To have certain educational requirements waived, a defendant would only have to complete alternative education, rather than equivalent alternative education.
HB 385 would also require a judge to consider whether the defendant has sufficient resources to make payments imposed under community supervision whenever they order the defendant to make such payments. Defendants placed on community supervision would be able to file a written statement with the court requesting reconsideration of their ability to pay. If the judge finds that they are unable to pay, they can make all or portions of the payments be paid at intervals, waived, or discharged through community service. Being delinquent on required costs, fines, and fees would no longer disqualify defendants from review for the reduction of their supervision period. A judge would be able to approve any faith-based, volunteer, or community-based program the defendant participates in for time credit towards their supervision.
Texas Action supports HB 385 because it would advance individual liberty and limited government. Indigent individuals should not have to carry burdensome costs and fees from their community supervision while others with the resources to pay receive less of an impact. A judge being able to waive fines and fees or require that they be discharged through community service would support equal application of the law for all defendants, regardless of their ability to pay.