The Legislature, with the passage of House Bill No. 1 of the Appropriations Act, has given state administrative agencies occasion to publicly review all rules. The bill asserts that such reviews shall include, at a minimum, an assessment by the agency as to whether the reason for adopting or readopting the rule continues to exist. Said reviews shall be carried out in the same manner as proposed rules and shall be completed not later than four years after a rule becomes final and no later than four years after a rule is readopted. By August 31, 1998 each agency shall develop a written plan to review all rules which became final prior to September 1, 1997. This plan will then be filed with the Governor, the Legislative Budget Board, and the Secretary of State.
Government Code, Chapter 511, gives the Jail Commission the general duties to:
(1)adopt reasonable rules and procedures establishing minimum standards for the construction, equipment, maintenance, and operation of county jails;
(2)adopt reasonable rules and procedures establishing minimum standards for the custody, care and treatment of prisoners;
(3)adopt reasonable rules establishing minimum standards for the number of jail supervisory personnel and for programs and services to meet the needs of prisoners;
(4)adopt reasonable rules establishing minimum requirements for programs of rehabilitation, education, and recreation in county jails;
(5)revise, amend, or change rules and procedures if necessary.
The Texas Legislature created the Commission on Jail Standards in 1975 to implement a declared state policy that all county jail facilities conform to minimum jail standards of construction, maintenance, and operation. The statutes creating minimum jail standards became effective December 1976. Revisions to those standards occurred thereafter based on court decisions, statutory requirements, and evolving standards of confinement. Standards are made available to counties, architectural and engineering firms, and interested citizens, including prisoners confined in jails and prisons. Standards are enforced through an inspection and enforcement program that has resulted in a safe and suitable confinement system throughout Texas counties.
To this end, the Texas Commission on Jail Standards will initiate plan adoption on April 2, 1998 and will review rules as follows:
(1)For October 1998 through November 1998, review Sections 259 - 261.
(2)For December 1998 through January 1999, review Sections 251, 255, and 257.
(3)For February 1999 through March 1999, review Section 263.
(4)For April 1999 through May 1999, review Sections 253, and 265 - 301.
All comments and questions should be directed to Lynn Weatherby, Planning Assistant, Texas Commission on Jail Standards, P.O. Box 12985, Austin, Texas 78711.