Texas legislator aims to block sex offenders from getting pen pals
Brett Barrouquere Published 12:05 pm, Tuesday, January 10, 2017
But, that may be a bit more limited under House Bill 821 as lawmakers return to Austin on Tuesday to begin the next legislative session. The measure, sponsored by state Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, would require the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to impose rules barring anyone required to register as a sex offender from advertising for a pen pal. The legislation doesn't impose a penalty on any inmate who violates the proposed rule. It appears that would be left up to the prison system. So, the lonely existence of an imprisoned sex offender may soon become even more solitary.
By: Shaheen H.B. 821
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT relating to the solicitation of pen pals by certain inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. Chapter 500, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 500.009 to read as follows:
Sec. 500.009. PEN PAL SOLICITATION PROHIBITED. (a) This section applies only to an inmate confined in a facility operated by or under contract with the department who is serving a sentence for an offense for which registration as a sex offender is required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure.
(b) The department shall adopt a policy that prohibits an inmate described by Subsection (a) from placing an advertisement soliciting a pen pal on an Internet website operated for that purpose, regardless of whether another person submits or pays for the advertisement for the inmate.
SECTION 2. Not later than December 1, 2017, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shall adopt the policy required by Section 500.009, Government Code, as added by this Act.
SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.