Many Texas readers probably know that Texas has a reputation for being tough on crime. However, the Texas legislature this session has been making some valiant efforts to reverse these possible injustices by enacting laws in order to protect individuals facing the death penalty, as well as laws to help some to find work after completing a sentence.
For example, a sex crime charge often causes much strife for those convicted of the crime. In the state of Texas, there are not only fines and jail time potential consequences, but also serious damage to reputation that can heavily impact one’s future. As in many states, Texas publishes a sex offender registry which requires all sex offense convictions to be available to the public. This policy, while helpful in some ways, has also made it substantially more difficult for individuals to re-enter society post sentence by obtaining a place to live and a job.
This is a serious problem where individuals who attempt to transition back into society face backlash when trying to rent an apartment or obtain a paying position because landlords and employers run from the sex offender registry. The Texas Association of Business is working to put a stop to this problem by lobbying the Texas legislature to make information about where an offender is employed available only to law enforcement. This effort would provide more incentive for employers to hire previously convicted offenders as they would no longer face drops in business for having a convicted offender on the payroll.
Some argue the change would strip the public of valuable safety information, yet the bill recently passed the House and Senate and is on the way for the governor to sign.
Source: The Texas Tribune, “Business Group Helps Criminal Justice Bills Pass,” Maurice Chammah, May 23, 2013.