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The Quandary of Medical Parole in Texas

Posted on Jan 16, 2013

Texas’s prison health care costs have caused many advocates to push for increased medical paroles. But, balancing fiscal responsibility with justice for the victims of serious crimes is a real problem for the state.

Approximately 100 applicants are approved for medical parole each year. In 2012, more than 1,800 referrals had been received in Texas. The Texas Board of Pardons and Parole has granted fewer than ten percent of the requests it has received for medical paroles in the past five years.

The standards for eligibility for medical parole depend on the circumstances of a person’s incarceration. Violent offenders are eligible for medical parole if they are terminally ill or require long-term health care. Sex offenders must be in a "persistent vegetative state" in order to qualify for medical parole. People who have been sentenced to death or life without parole cannot be considered for medical parole.

Some advocates for medical parole argue that Texas could save over $75 million every two years by releasing sick and terminally ill inmates. (The federal government would likely pay for the person’s care once the person has been released.) Opponents argue that some released prisoners may recover and commit new crimes. Since medical parole began nearly ten years ago in Texas, 42 of the nearly 1,500 released offenders committed new offenses. It’s no surprise that many victims also oppose medical parole.

For more information about the parole process in Texas, contact the parole lawyers of Topek & Topek, Attorneys at Law. Feel free to call us at (888) 661-5030, or fill out our secure online form.

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