Proposed City Program for Parolees in Dallas

NBC-5 ran a story about a proposed city initiative for parolees. The initiative would help parolees find work and housing. Unfortunately, the story also stated that the plan “would open housing for paroled convicts.” THAT IS SIMPLY WRONG.

There are NO plans at the City to create housing for parolees in Dallas. I have received several emails from Oak Lawn residents concerned that the City is proposing to place a disproportionate number of parolees in the area, and I just wanted to assure everyone that isn’t the case.

The proposal on the table is to have a database of apartments that accept parolees, as well as a database of employers that will hire parolees. We’ll have a community prosecutor and two social workers working with new parolees to find housing and jobs. Unfortunately, the State of Texas sends Dallas 600 parolees each month. Instead of just letting them off the bus to be either homeless or jobless (and possibly commit more crimes), the City is proposing to help them find jobs and housing and get them back into productive society.

We’ve already seen intervention with parolees work. Since October 2003, community prosecutors have been giving new parolees a single, hour-long presentation on the penalties associated with possessing a gun while on parole. As a direct result, gun possession crimes among parolees has gone down by about 35%. This benefits all of us by reducing crime. The new proposal will allow us to address both the homelessness issue as well as the recidivism issue.

As for parolee housing, District 14 residents can be CERTAIN that I will make sure this housing database does not disproportionately promote parolee relocation to any one part of our city.