Lawmakers approve changes for prisoners

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Associated Press

Posted on May 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Updated Sunday, May 26 at 5:06 PM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Prisoners who have completed their sentences would get help readjusting to society under a measure approved by the Texas Legislature.

A unanimous Senate vote on Saturday sent the governor a comprehensive bill addressing the mission of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The biggest policy change requires the agency to create a system that evaluates the needs of inmates leaving the system. The agency will assign counselors, educators, vocational trainers and public service volunteers to work with inmates to find employment and stability.

Gov. Rick Perry can veto the measure or let it become law.

Another major change proposed for the prison system would prioritize expensive privately operated facilities for closure. That measure has been shifted to the state budget bill still under debate.

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