Concern over House bill that would speed parole eligibility for violent offenders

HOUSTON (FOX 26) — On Tuesday night, Andy Kahan with Crime Stoppers of Houston broke the news about Texas House Bill 1271 to members of Parents of Murdered Children. It would allow violent offenders to accumulate good time credits to expedite parole eligibility.

"Almost 20,000 violent offenders could be parole eligible and could be released," said Kahan.

If the bill passes, it would be retroactive.

"That's the troubling aspect of the bill," added Kahan. "This bill would affect offenders currently serving a sentence."

Currently, violent offenders don't get what's called "good time credits" and they must serve at least half of their sentence before being considered for parole. But if this bill was to pass, violent offenders would get twenty days credit for every thirty days served.

David and Debbie Schwartz were told in 2018 that Chiron Francis, the man convicted of killing their 20-year-old son Douglas, would have to serve thirty years of his sentence before he was eligible for parole. If this bill passes, he would be eligible in around fifteen years.

"I don't think it's fair to have gone though what our family has gone through," said David Schwartz. "Our son was murdered and the perpetrator was on the run for 20 years."