Dead Man Waiting: A brief profile of deaths in Texas prisons among people approved for parole release

Date
2021-06
Authors
Deitch, Michele
Moreno, Destiny
Welch, Alycia
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Abstract

A troubling number of people in Texas prisons and jails who have been approved for release on parole are dying in custody before they ever step foot outside prison gates, according to a new report from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. In a first-of-its-kind analysis, “Dead Man Waiting,” shows that while deaths among parole-approved people increased during the COVID period, this population was already dying in large numbers from other chronic health issues while awaiting release. The findings in this report raise serious questions about the state’s parole system and why people who met the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP)’s stringent approval guidelines could end up dead before their release. Researchers offer recommendations for safely releasing this population immediately after parole approval. This report was produced as part of the COVID, Corrections, and Oversight Project at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, with support from Arnold Ventures. The COVID, Corrections, and Oversight Project is led by Michele Deitch, Project Director, and Alycia Welch, Associate Director.

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