search the site  

White line
 
 
 
 

People with a criminal history

 

2,440 people who were convicted of a crime in Travis County were released from incarceration in FY2013

 

The reentry population in Travis County: People with a criminal history face many barriers when attempting to reintegrate into society. The Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable, citing work by the National Employment Law Project, estimates that about 70 million nationally, or just under a third of the population, have a criminal record. Locally, between 2,500 and 3,000 people convicted of a crime in Travis County are released from incarceration each year. A criminal record can have an effect on an individual’s later life, regardless of whether they spent any time in jail or prison. Criminal histories make it difficult for individuals to find both housing and employment. Furthermore, individuals with a criminal history may have difficulty finding mental health or substance abuse services. Additionally, many formerly incarcerated individuals face challenges with debt and regaining proof of identification and a driver’s license.

In fiscal year 2013, 2,440 people who had been convicted of a crime in Travis County were released from state correctional institutions . This represents a 28% decline since 2007. Since 2011, the number of people released from incarceration has exceeded the number of individuals received by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (entered into incarceration in TDCJ facilities), leading to a net decline in the ‘on hand’ population of currently incarcerated individuals who were convicted of a crime in Travis County.

Graph showing The total number of individuals released from, received into , and on hand in Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities.

Definition: The total number of individuals released from, received into , and on hand in Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities.

Data Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Annual Statistical Reports

Data Considerations: These data include individuals who were convicted in Travis County. Therefore, not all of these people necessarily lived in Travis County at the time of their conviction, and not all individuals released from incarceration may live in Travis County upon their release. Data are reported by fiscal year. Receives and releases represent the total number throughout the calendar year. The on hand population refers to the incarcerated population on August 31 of the given fiscal year. Receives are offenders arriving at TDCJ during the fiscal year as a new offender or due to a revocation. Releases are offenders leaving TDCJ due to the discharge of their sentence or to another form of supervision.

Key issues that affect people with criminal histories

At their 2014 meetings, the CAN Community Council heard presentations by members of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable. Community Council members discussed the needs and challenges of people with criminal histories in our area. Top barriers and challenges identified at these meetings included:

some local efforts to improve the well-being of people with criminal histories

The Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable is a collaborative effort among local agencies that promotes public safety through effective reintegration of formerly incarcerated persons and individuals with a criminal history. Launched in 2004, membership includes governmental agencies, faith-based and community organizations, and other nongovernmental entities and individuals. Through its councils, the ATCRRT identifies barriers to successful reentry and recommends changes to local stakeholders that will reduce recidivism and increase public safety. As part of its FY2015-2017 Strategic Plan, the Reentry Roundtable will focus its efforts on reducing barriers to housing, employment, and behavioral health services, areas that were highlighted as top needs in the organization’s 2014 Austin/Travis County Reentry Report Card.

system changes recommended to improve the well-being of people with criminal histories

Following are recommendations that arose from the CAN Community Council panel discussion on the issues highlighted previously:

the face of the reentry population

Click on one of the titles below for more information.

» releases per 1,000 residents

Locally, a lower proportion of the population is released from prison each year than in the state as a whole. In fiscal year 2013, 2.7 individuals who were convicted of a crime in Texas per 1,000 residents were released from incarceration, compared to 2.2 individuals convicted of a crime in Travis County released per 1,000 residents. Locally, Travis County has the highest rate of individuals released from prison, whereas Williamson County exhibits the lowest rate. Note that data on releases from incarceration refers to the county in which the individual was convicted. Individuals convicted in a particular county may not reside in the same county upon release.

Graph showing The total number of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities by place of conviction in fiscal year 2013 per 1,000 residents in calendar year 2013

 

 

Definition: The total number of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities by place of conviction in fiscal year 2013 per 1,000 residents in calendar year 2013

Data Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Annual Statistical Reports and U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B01003: Total Population

Data Considerations: These data include individuals who were convicted in a given county. Therefore, not all of these people necessarily lived in the given county at the time of their conviction, and not all individuals released from incarceration may live in the respective county upon their release. Note that release data are reported for the fiscal year, whereas population data are reported for the calendar year. Releases are offenders leaving TDCJ due to the discharge of their sentence or to another form of supervision.

» releases per 1,000 residents– texas and travis county

Locally, the rate of individuals released from prison in Travis County has declined to a lower level than the rate for the state as a whole. Beginning in 2009, a lower share of the population was released from prison than in the state as a whole. Travis County’s rate declined from 3.3 individuals released from prison per 1,000 residents in FY2006 to 2.2 per 1,000 in FY2013.

Graph showing the total number of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities by place of conviction in fiscal year 2013 per 1,000 residents in calendar year

 

 

Definition: The total number of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities by place of conviction in fiscal year 2013 per 1,000 residents in calendar year

Data Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Annual Statistical Reports and U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B01003: Total Population

Data Considerations: These data include individuals who were convicted in a given county. Therefore, not all of these people necessarily lived in the given county at the time of their conviction, and not all individuals released from incarceration may live in the respective county upon their release. Note that release data are reported for the fiscal year, whereas population data are reported for the calendar year. Releases are offenders leaving TDCJ due to the discharge of their sentence or to another form of supervision.

» race/ethnicity

Although local data pertaining to the race/ethnicity of individuals released from prison are not reported by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the overall demographic picture for Texas shown below may give insight into the local population. African-Americans are over-represented in the population of individuals released from incarceration. Despite making up only 12% of the overall Texas population in Calendar Year 2013, African-Americans accounted for 33% of individuals released from incarceration in fiscal year 2013.

Graph showing The race/ethnicity of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities in fiscal year 2013 and the race/ethnicity of individuals in the total Texas population in calendar year 2013

Definition: The race/ethnicity of individuals released from Texas Department of Criminal Justice facilities in fiscal year 2013 and the race/ethnicity of individuals in the total Texas population in calendar year 2013

Data Source: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Annual Statistical Reports and U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 1-year estimates, Table B03002: Hispanic or Latino Origin by Race

Data Considerations: These data include individuals who were convicted in Travis County. Therefore, not all of these people necessarily lived in Travis County at the time of their conviction, and not all individuals released from incarceration may live in Travis County upon their release. TDCJ Population represents Fiscal Year 2013. Releases are offenders leaving TDCJ due to the discharge of their sentence or to another form of supervision. Total Population represents Calendar Year 2013. Furthermore, TDCJ and the Census Bureau report race/ethnicity in slightly different ways. Racial/ethnic categories reported by TDCJ are: Black, Hispanic, Other, and White. The Census Bureau racial/ethnic categories reported above are: Black or African-American alone, not Hispanic or Latino; Hispanic or Latino, of any race; and White alone, not Hispanic or Latino. Other includes anyone not identifying as one of the three previously listed racial/ethnic categories.

» proportionality of jail bookings

Most people that are arrested are booked into jail. Fifteen different local criminal justice entities bring people in to be booked into the Travis County jail. The data below represent the local Travis County jail, which is not included in data reported for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in other sections. Therefore, the racial/ethnic breakdown of individuals shown below does not directly influence the racial/ethnic breakdown of individuals released from TDCJ facilities reported earlier. However, broader trends appear similar. Blacks are 3.3 times more likely than Whites and 2.3 times more likely than Hispanics to be booked into jail in Travis County. Blacks are disproportionately overrepresented in Travis County jail bookings compared to their representation in the overall adult population. In 2012, the disproportionality ratio for Blacks was 2.6 which indicates a high disproportion of overrepresentation.

Graph showing the disproportionality ratios for bookings into the Travis County jail

Definition: The disproportionality ratio is calculated by dividing the representation of each racial and ethnic group booked into the Travis County jail by their representation in the general adult population. Disproportionality ratios are classified as follows: Comparable Representation (rates under 1.50), Moderate Disproportion (rates between 1.50-2.49), High Disproportion (rates between 2.50-3.49), and Extreme Disproportion (rates of 3.50 and over).

Data Source: Travis County Sheriff’s Office and American Community Survey. The disproportionality ratio classification system was developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Data Considerations: Persons 17 and older may be booked into the Travis County jail. Solid estimates of the population of 17 years olds by race/ethnicity are not available on a yearly basis, and so 17 year olds are not included in this calculation.

More information on disproportionality in our Community can be found on the proportionality of jail bookings indicator page.

» crime rate

The crime rate influences the number of individuals released from prison. The crime rate has declined steadily for local, state, and national areas. In 2013, there were 4,454 crimes reported per 100,000 residents, a 24% decline since 2007. The declining crime rate, then, may influence the number of individuals who are incarcerated and eventually released.

Graph showing the crime count of incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

 

 

Definition: The crime count of incidents (including murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft, and auto theft) divided by population to produce a rate per 100,000 persons in the population.

Data Source: Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Data Considerations: Some crime incidences are not reported to authorities and are not reflected in the data. The Texas Urban Counties rate is the overall crime rate for the six largest counties in the state: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis.

More information on disproportionality in our Community can be found on the crime indicator page.