Monday, September 28, 2015

Retzlaff Letter To The Editor On Texas Parole Board; 2004

Posted By: ZiLe Ohai - September 28, 2015

Below is a letter to the editor written by Thomas Retzlaff in 2004. It should be noted that Retzlaff was serving time in prison for burglary and sexual assault. He was released early after he filed a lawsuit against a Texas parole board for not notifying him in a timely manner of his parole hearing. The court ruled in his favor and released around two dozen inmates. 

The Retzlaff ruling wasn't unanimous, in a dissenting opinion one of the judges stated:
 "The court has apparently decided that it will provide the extreme remedy of applicant's early release from prison (even though a parole panel has determined that this would endanger the public) if the parole panel does not meet the court's extra statutory and arbitrary deadline for reviewing applicant for mandatory supervised release after timely notice to applicant. All of this ignores the ultimate due process question and has the very real potential of putting the security of the public at risk".

link to original is here


In reference to complaints against the parole board: Texas taxpayers are not a bottomless source of money with which our state can just fund every program that some special interest group wants funded. And the state prison system has been taking money from the taxpayers for many years now with a "no questions answered" policy by the legislature - until now.

You cannot lock up everybody that you feel needs to be locked up! Just last year, the state's indigent children's healthcare fund (CHIPS) had to dis-enroll approximately 150,000 needy children, while the state prison system has locked up over 150,000 offenders, many of whom are non-violent prisoners who can safely be released onto parole.

Public college tuition has greatly increased, fees for drivers licenses and car registration have also gone up, and our local county governments are demanding ever increasing amounts of our money - all with no end in sight. Yes, it is pretty bad when people get killed by drunk drivers - I have lost two close friends in separate incidents from drunk drivers. But we have to be realistic here. I would rather see precious and limited prison space being used to house killers, child rapists and drug dealers first and foremost. The hard fact is is that the Texas taxpayer is tired of giving their money to a bottomless governmental system that takes and takes, and then asks for more. I know that I am sick and tired of it and a lot of other people feel the same way. Just ask Bell County taxpayers who have twice defeated county jail bond proposals.

Tom Retzlaff

San Antonio, Texas

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