Texas Leaders Consider Freeing More Prisoners

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers are discussing whether releasing nonviolent convicts is a money-saving way to help deal with a projected $15 billion state budget shortfall.

Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chairman John Whitmire of Houston says the state does not have the resources to continue business as usual in Texas. Whitmire said Tuesday that "everything
is on the table for discussion this year." The Austin American-Statesman reports lawmakers are considering whether nonviolent foreign citizens who are up for parole and old, ill convicts might be considered for early released.

Police, prosecutors and crime victims groups are urging caution
in paroling any more convicts.
House Corrections Committee chairman Jerry Madden of Richardson says whatever lawmakers decide, it should not compromise public safety.

A 2009 legislative study urged that additional medical paroles be considered.