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Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence - 87th R.S. (2021)
Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:
- HB 1540 87th R.S., which implements various changes to state law based on recommendations of the Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force.
Study Texas' reentry and integration programs and make recommendations for reducing employment barriers for certain people with a criminal record. Review the length of time certain criminal offenses remain on a defendant’s record and consider the impact of expanding the offenses that qualify for an order of non-disclosure. Evaluate the financial and administrative barriers in the petitioning process for record-clearing relief.
Examine ways to increase the rate of compliance for court-ordered appearances, including new technologies that will facilitate contact with those ordered to appear. Consider the effectiveness of virtual appearances for certain offenses.
Study the accessibility to counsel in cases involving an indigent defendant and make recommendations to improve access to counsel in these cases. Evaluate methods to improve the effectiveness of court-appointed counsel, caseload processing, caseload distribution, and the state's compliance with applicable appointment of counsel requirements.
Study the availability of victim services, including community-based trauma recovery, housing and relocation assistance, employment protections, and other services that help victims recover and stay safe following a violent crime. The study should include an evaluation of the processes for nongovernmental organizations to apply for and receive victim services grant funding. Make recommendations for streamlining the grant administration process and improving access to community-based services in neighborhoods with the highest rates of crime and for victims of violent crimes.
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