In the State of Texas, jail is a big business and the great state loves to lock people up…and for a long time, I might add. Many people that are serving life sentences are first-time offenders. It has been said that young people, especially males, do not reach a full level of maturity until they are at least 25 years old. Look at car insurance companies; the rates are higher until you reach 25, right? Is it possible this is because these young people have more accidents? Could it be that these young people do not demonstrate responsibility? Although these emerging adults make poor decisions, most of the time, they mature and learn to make conscious decisions. A United States Department of Justice report states, “Many juvenile offenders do not continue their law-violating behaviors into adulthood”. This statement alone, proves that young people are not mentally mature enough to make sound decisions, but as they get older, they change.
Ms. Edna Watts is a concerned mother of a son who is currently incarcerated. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison for aggravated robbery when he was 19 and this was his first offense. Although he has matured, is a Christian mentor to his fellow inmates and is a certified paralegal, he is not eligible to apply for parole until he has served at least half of his sentence. Texas does not consider good conduct time, work time and flat time credit for 3-G (aggravated sentence) offenders. These offenders can show signs of maturity and rehabilitation and the state will not allow them to apply for parole.
Ms. Watts started three online petitions asking the State of Texas to reconsider these rules. Her goal is to collect over 50,000 signatures from people in the “free-world” so she can lobby city and state legislators to adopt each of the petitions as bills. Although these petitions are being directed to legislators in the State of Texas, she is asking everybody in the United States to participate. We believe that once Texas recognizes the need to change some of their policies, other states will follow suit.
It is our sincere wish that our followers will consider learning more about these petitions, sign them and pass the information on to family and friends. We pray that these petitions can help inmates, like Ms. Watts son, be able to apply for parole and be an asset to society instead of our tax dollars being spent to keep them behind bars.
Below are the websites with more information about the petitions: