Sunday, September 9, 2007

226 Juvenile Inmates to Be Freed in Texas

Published: May 20, 2007

AUSTIN, Tex., May 19 (AP) — The agency that runs the state’s juvenile prison system said it would release 226 inmates after a review found their sentences were improperly extended.

Advocates for Texas Youth Commission inmates and their families have complained that sentences are often extended inconsistently or in retaliation for filing grievances.

Jay Kimbrough, who is heading an investigation into accusations of physical and sexual abuse at the agency’s facilities, formed a panel to review the records of nearly all inmates with extended sentences. The six-member panel, which included community advocates and prosecutors, reviewed the cases of 1,027 inmates whose sentences were extended.

“For the youth we’re releasing, we did not find that the extensions were warranted,” an agency spokesman, Jim Hurley, said Friday. “The others will be reviewed on a regular basis.”

Mr. Hurley said the 226 inmates would be released on parole as soon as guardians can pick them up or they can be transferred to an interim halfway house.

The commission incarcerates about 4,700 offenders ages 10 to 21.

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