Proportion Blacks in Population at Large Proportion Blacks in Prisoner Population mind that we are in the grip of a major economic recession and the pressure is on the TDC. This pressure is two-fold. First is the continuing flood of new prisoners being sent to TDC and the second is financial. The prospect of a major crisis in the system is acutely present. In this context, and in view of the history of incarceration in Texas, what are the possibilities for a radical reconstruction of the prison system? The possibility that it might go either way the continued dumping of marginal citizens into prison or a radical reformation of the system must be recognized. Though people tend toward pessimism during economically hard times, the present crisis can be turned to the advantage of reform. To place a moratorium on the construction of new traditional institutions and to institute a community-based correctional program at Figure 4. The Proportion of Black Texans in the Prisoner Population Compared to the Population at Large. Source: Texas Department of Corrections and U.S. Census of the Population. this time would force changes. The practice of exporting urban problems to the woods of East Texas can be brought to a halt and the large contributing communities forced to confront their problems on home ground. The issues here are bigger than the events behind the walls of TDC facing the prison problems of Texas head-on entails confronting many of the problems of Texas as a community of people. Former U.S. Attorney General William Saxbe recently said that the problem with the idea of community-based corrections in America is that there is no community; that the man released from behind bars returns home only to find himself alone. It is time to form a community in Texas, a community of people interested in solving the problem of crime and re-writing the history of corrections. Changing the rules After voting itself an increase in operating funds of almost 50 percent the House’s first order of business was Speaker Billy Clayton’s rules proposal. It’s like the playground the Lege has been compared to more than once when a new kid shows up with a brand new football he’s going to want to change the rules a little. Clayton’s main effort was ‘directed at the committee structure, increasing the number from 21 to 28 and cutting the membership of each panel roughly in half. Led by Craig Washington and Bob Davis, the Dallas Republican and number two rules whiz, Clayton’s folk argued that the smaller committees would increase the power of individual members. If the smaller committees give more clout to the members, though, it’s not going to be at the expense of either the committee chairman or the speaker. For the first time each of the chairmen \(all appropriations process. The new rules will require chairmen to appoint special subcommittees to hold hearings along with the Appropriations Committee and make funding recommendations. The Appropriations Committee, theoretically, will be obliged not to exceed these recommendations. Some of the new committees are interesting. Banking and Finance, long an area of special interest to the speaker, will be elevated to full-committee status and severed from Business and Industry. Clayton has also created a Local and Consent Calendar Committee, as opposed to the regular Calendar Committee. Traditionally the committee chairmen have had the power to assign a Political Intelligence bill to these special calendars, which are legislative shortcuts that drastically increase a bill’s chance of passing. Now the new committee will control the flow of non-contested and regional legislation onto the floor. Strangest of all is Clayton’s proposal for two, count ’em, two judicial committees. The ostensible reason, as given by Clayton, is that the Judicial Affairs Committee was overworked last session. Although the committees have almost the same charge, one is a plum and the other is a loser. The chairman of the Judicial Affairs Committee on the Judicial Qualifications Commission and review the governor’s appointments to the bench: he will also have exclusive control over the creation of new district courts. Both Washington and DeWitt Hale \(long-time chairman of Judicial Affairs when things were simpler and there was promised the chair. Clayton is expected to hold off on committee assignments until the end of the month, so it’s not known who will get what. But it was Washington out on the floor doing Clayton’s work during the debate. Public utility regulation may not be the only bad blood between the 64th Legislature and Southwestern Bell. There is also the Tex-An telephone system, a mysterious new WATS line that’s been installed in all legislators’ offices. A telephone company representative traveled through the offices during the first week of the session attempting to explain the system, which is supposed to cut down on the state’s long distance bill. But working the system is not as big a problem as figuring out who is paying for it, and the Bell rep admitted she had been specifically ordered not to answer any questions about billing. Inquires to the office of House Administrator James Cole proved equally fruitless. But, as best as can be determined, the WATS line is billed to a general state fund and then distributed equally among all House members, eliminating the kind of public records on long distance calls that were partly responsible for embarrassing Fred Head and several other representatives. Slipped his mind The Hon. B. W. Clayton, praised in all those nominating and seconding speeches for his renowned honesty, has lost his pilot’s license on account of he wasn’t completely up front on his renewal application. In March, 1968, Clayton suffered a heart attack, specifically, a myocardial infarction, which put him in Brackenridge Hospital in Austin for three weeks. “I’m . supposed to be dead,” Clayton said of the attack. “It was one of that kind.” The near brush with death seems to have slipped his mind when he applied for renewal of his pilot’s license in 1970 and 1972. AP reporters Lee Jones and. Jim Brigance broke the story. Clayton told Jones that he couldn’t recall having applied for a renewal in 1970 and that a doctor January 31, 1975 5
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